My high school class reunion was last weekend. The planning committee put together events for Friday night (a group of seats at the Boston Red Sox affiliate team the Lowell Spinners), Saturday night (the official reunion dinner), and Sunday (a family day at a large park in the city).
I didn’t go. To any of them. I couldn’t. I started at that high school as a junior. Everyone had their friends and as the new kid, they were not really interested in me. I joined the swim team and met some of my classmates, but still, I wasn’t as good as they were and I always felt like an outsider. I never really fit in anywhere. Oh I tried! I played sports, got injured and had to quit all but one. I got invited to a football game once and went. They all went drinking afterward and I didn’t go. I think that event is what set me apart from them…forever.
I was just reading one of the e-mails sent out since the reunion that was speaking to how the reunion made him feel. My classmate wrote, “I must admit that I am caught up with a feeling of nostalgia – the feeling of being 18 again, the feeling of being able to do anything.” Well they did “do anything”. There are stories, awkwardly humorous ones, about how even now, 25 years later, the cops were called to the after party. One female classmate (National Honor Society, Harvard Graduate, now business owner) commented “Here we are, 43 years old and still…” I know I wouldn’t have been invited to that party. We would have gone, had dinner, and returned home. We might have gone to the family day and heard about the party, and then I would have felt resentful that I wasn’t invited, just like I felt when we were 18 and I wasn’t invited to ‘their’ parties.
Although I would love to share in a wonderful feeling of nostalgia of being 18 again, for me that time was anything but a time I want to remember. Every family has their moments, and for my family, those years were it. I know there was an impact on my brother and sister as well. And I also know that I am not alone. Most of us endure things during those years that are difficult to remember. For me, that time lead to a series of events that are now haunting me. God is healing me, but reading through the reunion messages sprinkled with friendship and idealistic good memories I mourn the loss of those innocent years of being almost an adult, carefree and blessed with many friends. I sit, again, outside the window looking in.
I am going to walk away this time with my head held a little higher. Yes, I have made mistakes, big ones. But by the grace and mercy of God I am forgiven. I can now stand in a new ‘class’ with new friends and family and say “THIS is where I finally belong.” I have graduated again. This time I am in the Heavenly Honor Society!