High school reunions evoke different responses from different people. Some look back on those years with great fondness while others would rather forget those years entirely. Like me, many people fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Recently, I attended my 20th high school reunion. In the span of just a few hours, I felt like I ran the full gamut of emotions.
The Gamut of Emotions
It was about an hour’s drive to my high school reunion. As we neared our destination, doubt crept in, and I felt a little sick to my stomach. I switched from the radio to my Ledger CD. I needed the encouragement to be Bold.
We were among the first people to arrive at the high school reunion. I was soon drawn into a conversation that brought me delight. My classmate shared how much he enjoyed his career field and the new job he’d begun just six months ago. It was great to see him so animated about the work he loves.
While we were talking, I overheard news that his wife was expecting their first child. Though I am rarely in the town where I went to high school, I was still aware that parenthood had been a long-awaited dream for them. Oh the joy I felt for them in that moment!
Another classmate shared that she now has four children – all boys. We talked about how nice it is to be able to stay at home with our children at this stage in life. There was a shared contentment at being able to be available to our families for all of life’s moments.
At dinner we sat across from a classmate that I didn’t know well – partly because I moved to this town my freshman year and partly because he attended the vocational school when we were upperclassmen. While we were talking about our kids, he and his wife shared about the unexpected adoption of their daughter. I sat in wonder as they both expressed how they couldn’t imagine life without her.
Encouragement and Belonging
There was one classmate I really wanted to connect with at my high school reunion. We’ve been Facebook friends for several years, and I knew I’d be encouraged just getting to talk to her. As soon as I tapped her on the shoulder, she turned to me with a warm smile. She shone with the light of Christ’s love and even shared her baptism story with me. In a room full of people I barely knew twenty years ago, for that moment I felt like I belonged.
Unfortunately, that feeling of belonging was short-lived. Twice in the next hour, a classmate used the microphone to indicate that I didn’t like to have fun. This brought back the frustration of my high school years when no one invited me to parties because I didn’t drink. Fortunately, my husband was there to help me past those moments of frustration.
When we walked outside to leave I came across a couple classmates standing near our van. One looked at me and asked if I knew who he was. I had been trying to place him all night and just couldn’t figure out who he was. Of course I guessed wrong and was truly embarrassed when he revealed his identity. In my own defense his glasses, hat, and beard hid the young man I had known in my youth.
I wound up chatting with him for fifteen or twenty minutes before we left. We talked about jobs, houses, and kids. He had done an extensive renovation of his home, and we just bought a fixer upper that needs a lot of work. It was evident how much he loves his wife and kids and wants to be the best dad he can be. I was blessed by this unexpected conversation. Despite my earlier doubt, frustration, and embarrassment, I am thankful that the evening ended on such a high note.
My Next High School Reunion
It’s hard to say if I will attend my next high school reunion. I missed the 10- and 15-year reunions due to scheduling conflicts. As the only person to bring water to a BYOB reunion, I still stand out socially like a sore thumb. Yet my classmates hold a tender spot in my heart. Whether through Facebook or at a high school reunion, I always love to see and hear how they are doing.
Your Next High School Reunion
How do you feel about your next high school reunion? Do you have mixed feelings like I did? If you do attend, I encourage you to focus on the high notes. If there are any low notes, let them roll on by.