I’ve Been Thinking . . .
. . . about old friends. Yes, still reflecting on the college reunion last weekend. And I’ve gleaned a few treasured realizations.
One thing I realized is that though we’d all changed on the outside (some were heavier, some were thinner, some were grayer, some were brightly colored, some were shiny), no one had changed much on the inside. We were the same exact people we were more than thirty years ago. Same smiles, same caring, same attitudes for the most part, though some of us had passed through life-changing trials. Part of the reason, I think, is Jesus—because the hope within us never dies.
One woman there, Cindy, had just buried her dear husband—but she shared his story with us, accompanied with smiles and tears and rejoicing for the victorious life he’d lived.
These friends are the ones you can meet after a long interval and pick up right where you left off. They’ll still laugh at your jokes, weep over your sorrows, love you for who you are.
Old friends remind us of what is truly important—those small deeds we perform and forget about, but that matter greatly to the ones we took time to serve. One man came up and thanked me for helping him with a school project—I don’t remember it at all. A woman came up and thanked me for taking her “under my wing” and helping her fend off “lecherous men.” LOL! I don’t remember any lecherous men, but okay. I was glad I could help, and amazed she remembered.
What mattered most to those people? Small kindnesses. Investments into the lives of others. Generous words, taking time, sharing wisdom. I found myself wishing I’d done more of that sort of thing. My husband had the same experience, multiplied. Adults who had been middle school students in those days came up to thank him for “being there” during “a rough time” of their lives. Just his being there had made a huge difference.
Another thing that struck me was that the “giants”—the professors and vice presidents and teachers who had been so far “above us” in status—came back, too, and ate with us, sat at our tables, and talked to us like peers. I didn’t feel much like a peer, but I was a little shocked to discover that suddenly I’m nearly as old as they are. ☺
Perhaps the best realization I gained was that our reunion was very much a foretaste of heaven. In eternity we’ll be able to mingle with our past earthly friends, the heroes we admired, the saints we modeled, the writers who penned the gospels. We can ask Daniel about the mysteries he wasn’t able to write. We can talk to Paul about what he saw in the third heaven. We can ask Jesus how he felt when the disciples scattered, and exactly what he meant when he cried out, “Father, why have you forsaken me?”
Best of all, there’ll be no time limit. An eternity to catch up and move forward, to learn and study and know. To worship. To play softball with Paul and chat with the animals and Francis of Assisi.
To make new friends who will soon become as precious as the old.