Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Way We Were

My twenty year high school reunion is next weekend. Twenty years! That's three years longer than the age I was when I graduated. While my high school years seem like they happened to another person in another time (well, actually it was another time...two decades ago), at the same time it seems inconceivable that it's been so long.

As part of the reunion planning, the committee in charge of said planning put together a website where alumni (or is it alumnus? Don't know my Latin!) can register for the reunion, submit their pertinent info, see who's still "lost" and who's been "found." It even plays the school fight song.

We the alum's have been invited to send in pictures to be posted on a gallery page. Some have sent in current pictures, but most of the pictures are from our high school adventures, or misadventures as the case may be.

I have to admit I didn't even recognize a lot of the people in the pictures, partly due to the fact it's been awhile, like twenty years, and partly because I just didn't get out much. As you have probably suspected, I was something of a nerd. To my surprise, I am featured in a couple of shots. My husband, who did not know me in high school, remarked on how young I look. I do, and I was.

All of this reflection and remembering has prompted some of the strangest emotions in me. As I began to realize how little I really was a part of the "in" crowd, it began to bother me, now twenty years later. Isnt' that silly? I mean, I knew I was more of a wall flower, certainly not the belle of any ball. Don't get me wrong, I had friends and a boyfriend. I was happy. I just didn't belong. And seeing it in living color so many years later was a surprise.

A friend from high school emailed me a few weeks ago. I haven't heard from him nor "laid eyes on him" since the night we tossed our mortarboards in the air. We exchanged the usual "what have you been up to" kind of conversation that one would typically have with someone they haven't heard from in ages. As I typed the words "I've been at home for twelve years" (nearly thirteen actually), I thought to myself, can it have been twelve years? (You can see I am having great trouble understanding time and its inevitable passage.)

Twenty years have passed, and my accomplishments include getting my college degree, marrying a wonderful man, birthing four children, changing mounds of diapers and now fixing lunches and doing laundry and scrubbing toilets (only occasionally) and transporting children. I know that I know that I know that THIS is God's call on my life. Many of you will say to me "it's the most important job you can do" and you are absolutely right. But, can I say that sometimes I feel the pressure of our culture that tells us our significance is found in our accomplishment? How easily we buy into the lie!

As I reflected on the past twenty years, I admit I wondered if I was a waste of potential. I wondered if...maybe...perhaps...

As I peer into the eyes of the former me posted on the photo gallery, it feels sometimes like I am looking into the eyes of a stranger, or perhaps someone I used to know, but now the acquaintance has faded. I think of the hopes and dreams of that girl and wonder if she knew that this is how it turned out, would she be excited? Disappointed?

I do know this. Whether the high school me would be glad about becoming the current me or not, the current me would do it all over again exactly the same way. Actually that's not entirely true. I don't want to do it all over again. I want to be here in the now of my life. I know my God now in an intimacy I would have never known possible twenty years ago. I can say with Paul that by God's grace I am what I am. Thus far the Lord has brought me. He has blessed me so, and I am grateful.

Originally posted October, 2006


  1. A hearty amen to the last five sentences!! Praise God He doesn't leave us where we were...

  2. I love that you see what He has done for you and you wouldn't want to be anything but that! Praise God!

    Can you tell me, for my own purposes, where this is at, in what version of God's Holy Word? "I can say with Paul that by God's grace I am what I am."


    I will be back!


  3. To answer your "alumni" question, it all depends on who you are talking about. It's latin, so you have to know the declension in order to use the right ending on the noun. If you are talking about a group of men alum or a mixed group, then you would say/write "alumni". If it were a single male, he would be an "alumnus". A single female would be an "alumna" and a group of females would be "alumnae," which sounds exactly like "alumni".

    Those are the Latin rules. However, since we stole the word and grafted it into English, I'm not certain that the word has to follow Latin rules.

  4. In answer to Yolanda's question, it's 1 Cor. 15:10, ESV, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain."

    To Brad: now that I think about it, I think you might have answered that same question the first go 'round! Thanks for the Latin lesson, both times...

  5. It's funny...I have been at home for 12 years myself...and having worked the first 13 years of marriage and through the birth of all four children it cured me of not feeling as if I have accomplished something being home! LOL! Usually when I tell people I home school four boys they seem to think that is an amazing feat. But watching my friend try to reenter the work place after 12 years I can see how it doesn't seem like much to put on a resume that you raised four children. There ARE a lot of people that won't be too impressed by that. Thankfully, we serve a God who is. You are building up treasures in heaven...It is so great that His Spirit works in you to put priorities in place. Hold your head high at the reunion!

  6. "Alumni" is a long i, by the way. Pronounced like "eye". I'd hate for you to be saying Alumn'ee'. That would be terrible.

  7. I AMEN everything you said. My 20th is this year as well. All I can say is, "If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side..."


  8. I agree with this - well written. It is a shame we feel the pressure to be measured by society's standards. If only we could rest in the truth from God!!!!

    On a side note, I organized my 10th reunion some few years back adn it was a blast. I was a fairly well adjusted "middle of the road" gal, but I remember feeling awkward contacting some of "those girls" silly 10 year later, but it was there.

  9. My ten year reunion is approacing this next month and I have mixed emotions as well. I found the question you posed (if I knew this is how it would turn out, would I have been disapointed? excited?) very interesting and it got me to thinking. At the time, no it probably wouldn't have been very exciting. However, that was before I knew the joy that being a mother would bring - a pretty hard concept to explain to an 18 year old with the world in front of her. I'm right where I belong now and I am so thankful that the Lord didn't lead me where I thought I wanted to go.

  10. Powerful post. It echoes the sentiment of my heart some days. Did you go the reunion? If so, I'd be interested in a follow up post of how it all fleshed itself out. I've never been brave enough to return to any of these types of reunions. I hated high school and left a year early. One of the best decisions I ever made!