Last night was my 35th high school reunion. It was so nice seeing everyone, but for an introvert with extrovert tendencies, it wore me out.
I was that small town girl that went to school with pretty much the same people from the time I was in kindergarten until I graduated. I had never been anywhere outside the southeastern part of the United States until I married my husband.
There is something special and a little disconcerting about going back to see all those friends that you grew up with. Seeing those same girls dancing and laughing together and the same boys still being boys, takes you back to that person you were when you were younger. That shy girl that didn’t have a clue about life, I was quite naïve and clueless, heck I’m still a little gullible even now.
I was raised pretty conventionally. And even though I am thankful for that, when I became a believer and started following that still voice inside of me, I mean intently listening to the voice of God, my path changed dramatically. I began living life quite unconventionally for a suburban American. It changed every part of the person I was. While in school I never knew that I had an artist’s heart. To me only the most talented people were artists. I never knew that I had a heart of compassion for broken people. I thought only honorable, noble, unselfish people helped the broken in this world. I never knew I could be a leader. I thought only well put together individuals were leaders.
I had to raise 3 daughters and follow a creative man around for years before I could see that ‘like attracts like’ and what I saw in them was a reflection of myself as well.
This creative heart longed to break free all those many years ago. I wanted answers to questions I didn’t even know I had and because I didn’t have those answers I thought I had to stand in the background and not take action until the answers came. What took me a long time to understand is that when I took action the questions came into focus and somehow the answers were brought into my life.
Those answers didn’t come by education, or traveling, or even living. They came by my pursuit of the one who formed me and designed me to be the person I am, a little shy, very talkative, very passionate and a little insecure. Those things that kept me on the sidelines so many times when I was younger are the very things that I am grateful for now. I embrace them. Not because they are good traits, but because they are my burdens that I continually have to overcome and they make me stronger. They keep me dependent on my creator. I forever run to his cross and lay my heart at his feet asking him to tend the garden within it, to prune and sow that heart garden so that I can shine His light for the entire world to see.
Finding Jesus does not equate to finding the American dream. Finding Jesus means finding yourself, finding that person you were destined to be.
The wonderful thing about being older and coming together is that we were all genuinely interested to hear about each other’s lives. It was nice to hear their memories of the young girl you were once. And there is a camaraderie in knowing that even though we have all changed and grown, we are still those little girls and little boys deep down inside, wanting to be loved and wanting to be liked by our peers.
So I am grateful that I was a part of the Berkmar Class of 83.
Photo credit: Tracey Queen Tuggle.