The 50-year class reunion is over. I think it went very nicely, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Eighteen out of a little over 40 original classmates made it to the event. I had a hard time connecting faces of today with those I vaguely remembered from the past. At one point, I watched a table of guy classmates laughing and talking together, and briefly I saw them as they once were. Especially the ornery one. And, true to character, he was egging me on to rankle a fun-loving classmate about a personal matter. She took it in stride, and didn’t punch him out (or me).
I received a copy of the school paper from that graduating year, including editorials and comments from students, as well as charges for the future from the teaching staff. A couple of things stood out to me. First, I hope the teachers taught better than they wrote articles, because I was a little startled at the errors in grammar and spelling. Next, some students and teachers used some pretty lofty language about the future. Words like “a changing world…new adventures…an heir to great minds…a new era within distance…contributing usefully and wisely to all society” were used.
On the latter side of growing old I wonder if we would consider the same things being of importance. Perhaps we would remember the approx. 2,184 diapers changed and bottles fed per year per child, and teaching a child how to ride a bicycle, and later on how to drive a car. The success of staying off welfare in those early years, or holding your head up high if you had to.
From talking to people I have found that those school years hold some emotions for almost everyone. Some want to relive their successes, others want to validate themselves with these long ago acquaintances, some don’t want to come anywhere near the place ever again, and some have moved on with their lives (perhaps the no-shows). Some have gone on to higher education and some have spent productivity years of working.
I finally finished my degree, but it only made me realize how much I don’t know. I brushed up against so many areas of knowledge to discover whole fields of learning I will never have time enough to pursue. I think my greatest successes have been those I don’t remember. People have told me helpful things I said years ago that I don’t remember saying. I have concluded it may have been the Holy Spirit speaking through me that made the impression.
Should I be asked to give advice to seniors today, I think I would tell them success is in the details. Living a life of kindnesses and good character leaves a legacy in its wake. That is the fertile soil on which others grow and are nourished. And it points them to Jesus, the greatest success of all. It matters for an eternity.