I've spent the better part of my last couple of days trying to track down classmates since our 10 year reunion is just around the corner. And, well, it's hard to have a reunion without people!
I was class president my Senior year. I knew that meant that I'd be in charge of reunions for life, and at the time it sounded like just the kind of job I'd want! SO MUCH has changed in 10 years though...
I don't know how I would have imagined my life back then. But if back then, you had flashed forwarded to now... I would have probably spit my Sobe across the table in the Commons in utter disbelief. Me, working as a Children's Ministry Director, married to a Pastor for the past 8 years. Two beautiful kids and an utterly crazy, absolutely astonishingly beautiful life? Who'd a thunk?
The funny thing is, I've changed so much in 10 years. Yet, I can't imagine my classmates as anything other than what they were 10 years ago--because that's all I know of them. I almost shudder to think of how people will view me by default--because that's all they know about me.
It's almost a shame that we're so defined by our high school experience. There are no do-overs. You can't change anything (and oh, I wish I could!), and you can't get that time back. It is it what is. It's four years of our life, yet we spend the next 60+ years reliving the glory days every 5-10 years. As if any of us are remotely similar to who we were back then.
For the first time in my life I'm beginning to see why some people choose not to participate in reunions. I really am looking forward to mine in some ways. Yet, in other ways I dread it. Mostly, I dread trying to track down all these people that I have no idea how to contact! I've found 77, but I have 97 more to locate. Yikes!
As reunion time draws near you can't help but reflect back on those days. At least, I can't. Most people who read my blog didn't know me in high school, and I'm tempted to try to describe myself back then for you... but I'm not even sure where to start.
I wasn't popular (I was never invited to 'cool' parties and such), yet everyone knew me. I had a few really close friends, and toward my Senior year I got sucked into a pretty cool (cool in my book anyway) group of friends that all went to church together. I had a crazy home-life, and throughout high school pretty much raised myself. My mom moved away when I was 8 and my dad had periods of um, lack of sobriety if you will, which led to him being on an extended vacation for the last year and a half of my high school days. At that age I was too old to be cared for by someone else, yet too young to take care of myself.
So, in a wild effort to not be defined by my home life, I threw myself into school work and extra-curricular activities. I was class president all four years, in all sorts of clubs, and volunteered for just about anything that would be considered a worthy activity on my college resume (someone was going to have to pay for college), or that would get me away from home for a while. I played (or attempted to play) soccer for three of those years... but let's be honest... I'm not exactly athletic! I never partook in anything of substance. I was always busy. I probably had a boyfriend for 90% of my high school days. Again, looking for something else to pour myself into. See note above about things I wish I could change.
I was loud, and opinionated... and wanted to change the world. I intended to get into politics. Really, I think I wanted to be famous. Yet, I wanted it to be for something good and worthwhile. I wanted to be well-known, but in some ways I didn't care if people liked me. I've always had a very clear view of right vs. wrong and I wasn't afraid to share my thoughts. I always tried to be 'smart' and I was in comparison to many, but I was always deeply jealous of the really 'smart' people. Looking back, I realize most of those smart people had a lot of encouragement at home to do well, and probably had parents walking them through a lot of the difficult assignments and such. I was often operating on a whole lot of stress and very little sleep.
I regularly sought approval from my teachers, and tried very hard not to disappoint them. As much as I wish I weren't, I'm sure I was prideful and arrogant. I tried to build myself up so I wouldn't fall apart. I walked through life with a few defining philosophies at that stage. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, and what's meant to be will happen.
See, even before I knew the truth--that God had a plan for my life, I always imagined that someday I would look back and be grateful in some strange way for all the pain, hurt and drama. That some how, some way, some good would come out of the rubble. That perhaps I had to be on the road I was on to get to the road that I was meant to be on. And that when I got to that road, I would be grateful that the broken road lead me there. That's why I cling to my life verse, Romans 8:28, "For we know God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose."
Specifically, every time I went through a painful break-up, I thought to myself. Someday, I'm going to be standing at the alter, staring into the eyes of my husband, and I'll be so grateful that this didn't work out. And I was so right! I can't imagine myself living the life that I would have lived in any of those scenarios. God knew so much better than me. My husband is so much more than I could have dreamt about if you'd have given me 1,000 years to write my own love story!
I never would have imagined in high school that I would go from being defined by what I did, to being defined by who I am. I am a child of God, Creator of the heaven and Earth. I have slowly grown from who I was to who I am. And I'm sure in another 10 years I'll look back on today with even more marvel at how God has changed me over the years. God is so good!