The Shared Life
This past week I attended my high school reunion. How many years? Um…let’s say… “A lot.” Okay, I’ll fess up. It was my fiftieth. Actually, “fifty plus one” since we could not celebrate last year due to COVID.
Because I was traveling from Ohio to Florida for the event, I thought this week’s blog would be all about reconnecting with my high school friends.
Indeed, it is a post about reconnecting, but in more ways than I expected.
My mom came with me so she could see some of her friends in Florida as well. We stopped for the night in southern Kentucky where many folks on my mother’s side of the family still live. My cousin, Gerry, graciously opened her home to us to spend the night. Moreover, she let other family members know of our visit. We all shared a delicious home cooked meal made complete with vegetables from the garden.
The food was wonderful, but the conversation lasting long into the shadows of the evening proved to be the real icing on the cake. Reunion.
We completed a much longer drive the next day (Saturday), arriving late that evening at the lake house where my husband grew up. Sunday morning we joined family and friends at Lutz First Baptist for an incredible hour of worship. My husband and I were married in that church and the last two winters of Tom’s life we spent worshiping with friends there.
If you are a Believer, you have likely experienced those moments where you feel the Holy Spirit simply washing over you and filling every crevice of the room. If you aren’t a Believer, trust me, those moments breathe new life into you. Reunion.
After church, my family joined us at the lake house for the day. Tom’s brothers and sister and their families were there. They are my brothers and sister and family, too. I had the chance to play with the newest member of the clan, my great niece, Jaylen.
I closed my eyes and absorbed the ebb and flow of family throughout the day. A memory I hope to hold forever. Reunion.
On Tuesday, my high school friend, Nancy and her husband, Marty came to the lake house for a visit, bringing with them one of my favorite Florida foods, Cuban sandwiches. You know you are good friends when you pick up right where you left off as if years hadn’t passed between visits. It’s like that with Nancy and Marty.
On Thursday, my mother and I headed to Rainbow River in Dunellon, Florida. The locals call the river “Blue Run.” It is one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. We have family there as well. They aren’t family by birth or formal adoption. They are lifelong friends.
Lifelong friends are the sort who rally around you in times of need and cheer for you even in the small victories of life. And you do the same for them.
Quiet conversations with friends you’ve known most of your life. Reunion.
Saturday evening's High School Reunion arrived. Tampa has grown so much since I lived here I never would have found the place on my own. I rode to the event with my neighbor and friend Mike.
Name tags were helpful in many cases because we were a class of over six hundred. But in truth, of the many ninety or so who showed up, I recognized my friends. I often witness pieces of their lives on Facebook. But what I loved is that I recognized so many others without looking at a name tag. We ate. We danced. We laughed.
There is a spirit of friendship and joy and camaraderie planted in our hearts during those high school years that transcends graying hair, extra pounds, wrinkles, and glasses. Reunion.
I traveled to Florida for my high school reunion but it was so much more.
Reunion. It was a full week of coming together with family who are friends and friends are family. It was an opportunity to renew relationships and make new ones.