Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reflections on Reunions

A few weeks ago was yet another high school class reunion. It has been ten years since I’ve attended a reunion and I was very excited about it. Before the actual date, one of the organizers sent me a list of those who were confirmed to attend. As I scanned the list I smiled at many of the names, reliving some of our fun times.

The week after our class reunion we had an out of state family reunion on my mother’s side. I wasn’t able to attend due to a writer’s conference, but as I reflect on family times together, they too, cause me to smile at the memory of the good ole days with beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Of course not all memories are pleasant. For instance there was the classmate my sophomore year who spread a false rumor about me, devastating me for weeks. Then there was the uncle who chided me for being in the dessert line – again. Not all of our gatherings create good memories, and understandably some reunions can leave you feeling inferior. It can be hard not to compare yourself to those who are the same age, whether it is an ex-classmate or a cousin, and hear how they have become the CEO of a large corporation or the principal of a school. Some get-togethers can cause you to feel as if you haven’t done anything significant with your life, which isn’t always a bad thing; it can spur you on to taking that leap of faith to change your course in life for the better.

But this recent class reunion was somehow pleasantly different from all the rest. Gone were the masks that we girls, especially, would wear as we would try to impress others with our outer appearance. Of course we all wanted to look our best, but quite frankly that was not what mattered the most. Over the years the masks have fallen off and in their place was a heartfelt love for one another. What seemed to matter most was that we were all still here, especially since eight boys from our class have passed on. And one of our girls almost didn’t make it; Mary, a veteran of the Iraq war. It was especially touching to see her as she walked into the room with a cane. It was obvious that Mary had been through hell and back, but most thankfully, in the process she found God. Of course He had always been there; she’d just never been so desperately in need of Him before.

And that was my prayer as I drove home in the dark that night following the reunion; that each one of my classmates would, if they haven’t yet, come to realize that Jesus died for them and that they needed to open the door of their heart and invite Him in. As I rounded the final curve of my drive home I suddenly came upon a brief, light fog in the valley where we live. It reminded me of the verse from James 4:14: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”. And it’s true; much like that patch of fog – we are here one minute and gone the next.

As another reunion closed, our goodbyes to one another were bittersweet, all of us probably wondering if we would ever see each other again. Yet for those of us in Christ we know that our earthly goodbyes are always temporary, for we have an eternal reunion to look forward to.

I couldn’t help but see a few similarities between the two: at our class reunion we sat on picnic tables with cement underfoot, in heaven we’ll be walking on streets of gold. And a few guys brought guitars and we had a “jam session”, but in heaven ear has not heard the melodious sounds of the majestic, heavenly choirs singing praises in chords that we can’t imagine. And then as we shared our physical ailments and how almost all of us were wearing bifocals now, I couldn’t help but ponder how in heaven our bodies will not decay or age. (And of course the women are hoping chocolate will be there in abundance – and we won’t have to worry about it going to our hips!)

Yes, there is much to look forward to at that Reunion to beat all reunions. I truly hope you’ll be there.

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3 NIV).

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