Monday, August 8, 2011
What's so wrong with that, you wonder? It is my 40th Anniversary or Reunion!
40! It can not be!
That was the reunion I remember hearing my parents talk about when they were going on diets or shopping for new clothes to prepare! And they were OLD!
This can not be for ME!
Then I did it. I started searching on facebook and google for pictures of people I had long forgotten. (Sorry, class of 1971, but you forgot about me, too. I mean it's not like we have kept in touch over the years.)
And I saw faces that seemed somewhat familiar, yet at first glance, I thought, "That is what her mother looked like when I was in high school." or "What is that baby she is holding? A grandchild?!"
I realized how my class had grown up, gone their separate ways, married, had families, and now grandchildren.
And it surrprised me. I think I now understand my mother who at the age of 84, told me how strange it was to feel like a child inside a body that surprised her when she looked in a mirror.
It isn't until you are around others your age, you realize your own.
I am not attending my class reunion. It is not because of fear, but simply because my senior year in high school was difficult. LIke most teenage girls, I was ready to get on with life. I did not have a steady boyfriend like so many of my friends. I did not understand the daily drama of breaking up and getting back together. My struggles in chosing not to drink kept me from most "parties." I often felt caught in the middle of very strict religious friends and the freer friends who embraced the 70's lifestyle.
Trying to figure out my identity in a class that was not very cohesive or supportive of each other was not a pleasant memory. I often felt judged or typecast and left out. As a result, I protected myself be appearing aloof and not caring, when inside, I was screaming, "Please, notice me! Please, care!" I will never forget the night of my high school graduation. I couldn't attend the party where I knew many would be hung over the next day nor did I wish to attend the party where games like Scrabble would be played. I felt caught in the middle and so very lonely.
I drove my parents' car down 13th street and thought, "What do I matter? I am utterly alone. No one cares about me whether I am here or there. Why not drive into that tree? What difference would it make?"
With tears in my eyes, I stepped on the gas pedal. But a still, small voice told me to stop, that I did matter in life.
I slowed down, turned around, went home, sad, yet relieved.
I don't think I have been the only one to have such thoughts at least once in this life. I think Satan tempts many people with such thoughts during personal struggles. I am so thankful God's Holy Spirit comes to do battle.
Also, I have found out since that time that I wasn't the only one wearing a mask. Most teens do and as a resul high school can leave many scars for kids. As a former teacher, I have witnessed adolescents having similar struggles, many much worse than mine, unfortunately.
So, do I wish to return to see those who survived the high school journey with me? Not really. I will be celebrating my birthday instead with family and friends. Folks who have accepted me without the mask.
I hope that doesn't sound bitter. It is really just honest. I am sure there are so many out there who had amazing experiences with classmates in high shcool and bonded for LIFE with BFFS. I am truly happy for you.
It just didn't happen for me.
The reason I am no longer bitter about some of the teasing I received for my faith, is ironically because of my faith. God became the solace and helped me learn to lean on Him when feeling isolated or lonely.
"I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
For many teens, they sometimes think whatever happens or doesn't happen at school or at a party IS the end of the world.
I thank God, He showed me otherwise.
How about you? I pray God reminds you of His love, especially during class reunions.
For His Glory,