Something Shared

1 07 2013

 As many know my Lady and I attended my 40th high-school reunion a couple of weeks ago, and as stated previously it was just an awesome time!  From the pre get-together at a local Imagetavern the night before that we all used to frequent (the drinking age in Ohio back in the 70s was 18) to a golf scramble Saturday morning where about 30 alumnus participated, to finally the reunion itself held on a beautiful beach and located on Lake Erie was nothing less than fun-filled and wonderful.  The number of graduates who came was large (as you can see from the picture) as they poured in from all over the country. Everyone had such a great time being together there’s already talk of doing something next year and so on each year after, which isn’t completely out of the ordinary for this group since we met twice in between the last two 5-year reunions.  Yep, here’s a group of folks that just seem to love reconnecting.  When I returned to my Indiana home, I related the whole experience to some friends there who were impressed on how many attended. One person said, “We’re lucky to get a handful at our reunion and I’ve only been out of school 20 years.”  Another, “We can’t get anyone who’s willing to put it together in my class.”  Still another, “I went to one and the same snobs that I remembered from school were there and I never went back!”  Another friend questioned me, “Didn’t you tell me that you were hardly involved with high-school your last two years and didn’t even know that many back then?  Now you’re telling me how great of a time you had; what changed?”  Good question.  That was a true statement, I didn’t have a lot to do with school and the kids of my class back then.  And some of the earlier reunions were okay, but nothing that could be categorized as memorable.  So what changed not only in me, but in others?  This, for some, was the 1st they had attended since high-school with ones that I at least spoke with saying they would come back for other reunions now.  Can we really say this was something special, or would it be more truthful that this was no more than a good party that just happened to have a lot of attendees? From my personal standpoint, I believe it was the first reason and here’s my argument.

On a warm afternoon and evening in June, some 180 people came together on a beach from all over the country.  Some had found great success in some arena of life and career, others settled into everyday jobs and way of life, while others were blighted with something that did not allow them to work.  There were some who looked just a fit as their youthful days of high-school, while others, yours truly included, showed the telltale signs of folks approaching what some call the “golden years” of life; while still a few have been saddled with debilitating illnesses that have robbed them of a fuller life.  Some have enjoyed the success of long marriages, while others find themselves alone for a number of reasons with the hardest, in this man’s opinion, from being widowed all too soon.  And then, of course, most have children, grandchildren, and even a few with great-grandchildren.  In a group that big there has to be much pride and joy for many for their offspring, while still for some, sadness due to a situation only known to them.  The comment will come, “Miller, all you’ve done is describe modern, everyday life for any group from school association, to workplace, to even each and every neighborhood in the U.S.; we all have situations like these in our lives and that doesn’t make you or the rest of those over-aged teenagers special.”  True enough, but humor me and stay with me just a little bit longer, okay?

Be it taking part in a sporting event, going to a concert or maybe a movie, all are involved at least until the event is over and you depart from all the strangers that you shared that moment with.  In the case of a reunion, at least this one, you find yourself not with strangers, but with acquaintances, people you shared an equal bond with during another time, friends, and for some, family.  For one evening a large group of people were magically transported back to a time centered around the years from approximately 1971 to 1973 where, yes, once again they were teenagers.  Where for that moment, all the things that describe everyday life are null and void, where the most important matter at hand is having fun and being happy, not in the company of strangers like a concert or a movie, but with ones who share a part of you in the same way you share a part of them.  People who have not seen each other for years were taking up where they left off, happy to be together. Some of the most exciting moments for me were seeing an old friend from the east side, where I grew up back home, my very 1st bass player and dear friend from a band I had in junior-high, and then a couple of gals and guys I had known and remembered since grade school days.  Others I’ve become acquainted and reacquainted with when I joined Facebook, the joy was overwhelming when I could physically see and hug these dear people who mean so much to me.  A thread, a commonality runs through a group like this that says, ‘We have something special here, let’s never let it die!’

Chuck Swindoll says “I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy.  Let’s face it; friends make life a lot more fun.”

Thank God for friends that knows us, care for us and love us despite ourselves.  One of the greatest joys I have is lifting all of them in prayer regularly, for me it’s a way of keeping them close always.  You see, I learned that from the greatest FRIEND whoever came into my life. In the book of John he says: No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you “FRIENDS,” for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  He goes even further by saying Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his “FRIENDS.”

Lord, thank you for friends that never forget us and are there for us.  And Jesus, thank you for a friendship that is everlasting, eternal; Awesome!!

Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I look forward to seeing old friends that I share something special with again at other reunions.  I also will look forward to watching others reunite and for a time forget life around them, and be 18 again, hugging, laughing and just enjoying being with ones who have Traveled a bit of the same Rock Road with them, for that makes them special, that makes them Family!

Perhaps say in 25 more years, I may be honored to do the opening prayer for the reunion as I’ve been so blessed to do in the past.  Maybe after the “amen” I could grab my electric axe and go into a rendition Smoke on the Water!  Get your butts out of those wheelchairs 73ers, its time to ROCK!!!!


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