This weekend several of my graduating classmates are gathering for our 20-year reunion in Homer, Alaska. Without me. I ask myself, how can 20 years have passed? Moreover, how can 20 years have passed and I still don’t have it all together?
I have spent most of my day today thinking back to my graduation night. My best friend Dina and I sang with Tony Darling a song called, “Great Expectations”. Tom Bodett spoke at our graduation on the very same theme…(yes, he’s the “We’ll leave the lights on for ya” guy…he’s from my hometown). I threw my hat up in the air (but not too far up, because I wanted to keep it for my scrapbook, so it had to be mine that I caught, you understand), hugged whoever was next to me (I think it was a boy named Toby Fenex) and then set out to find my boyfriend at the time…Jimmy, who was a junior and still had his senior year ahead of him. I got caught up in the throng in our cafeteria and was hugging kids I had gone to school with for the last 7 years of my life when it hit me like a ton of bricks. This was a life-changing occasion. Yes, we had all looked forward to our graduations, but mainly so we could leave that little hamlet by the sea. Everyone I knew wanted to get out of Homer, because it was a dead end town – with nothing to do and no jobs available, unless you wanted to fish for a living. But in the dimly lit cafeteria, I looked across a sea of faces and realized I would never again see many of these people. People I had seen regularly almost every day for the last 7 years would just leave and I’d never find out what happened to them. Tears welled up in my eyes just as Jimmy found me – I sobbed into his shoulder because I realized that even we would be separated by time and distance within just a few short months.
And that’s how it’s been for the last 20 years. Today, I find myself wishing I had been able to go to our 20 year reunion. But it’s over 5000 miles from me now…another world. So many things have changed, yet so many have remained the same. I am much more confident in who I am now…I have grown to love myself because I have accepted that I am not perfect…I am a sinner whose sins are forgiven because of a precious Savior who loves me more than I’ve ever loved myself. I am not as prone to being melodramatic…with three kids, you just can’t make a production out of everything. I’ve realized that life is not a popularity contest…some people will be my friends and some won’t…I forgive those who are either willingly ignorant or just too plain stupid to even make the attempt. I would still be known as the “goody two shoes”…after all, I married a “Preacher”. I would still be the one who talked the loudest and laughed the longest…after all, I still have a little bit of melodrama in me, even after 20 years and three kids.
I have not even done a good job of keeping up with some of my best friends, either! Although that would not surprise anyone that knows me well, because although I often think of others, I rarely ever pick up a phone. I have done a little bit of research and know that Kara is in Arizona, Dina still lives in Homer, and Jimmy is now married and a Doctor. (Guess I shouldn’t have let him go so easily, huh?)
But what I wonder is this: did I make an impact on anyone there? Does anyone think about me the way I think about them? Does my name ever even cross their mind? Or am I long forgotten, like that graduation night of May 20, 1987?
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