This past weekend I participated in an annual event where some college classmates gather for a reunion. I won’t bore you with all the details of why and how this group has grown, but suffice it to say we have a legacy that spans over 45 years. So, we have a robust group who gather. Our age range covers that full 45 year span, including current college students who are part of the organization from which us older guys came.
You can imagine the stories that get told and re-told depending upon the time since we all first joined this particular organization. It is a blast to relive some of those experiences. After spending almost 72 hours in and out of events, meetings, meals, and small groups, I have a few reflections to share. I am confident most of you will relate to what I am going to tell.
Here’s my list:
1. As we live out a chapter of our life, we may not realize how significant that experience may become – College is a time where younger folks usually leave home for the first time. There is a new found freedom and an independence. New friendships are formed and many other acquaintances are made. Just by living this new life, there is a common bond with the new people we meet at that age. This chapter may be short-lived in comparison to the rest of our life, but it is amazing to see the results from being faithful to keep those deeper friendships over the years. I spoke to the younger members of our group and encouraged them to not take the moments they now experience for granted.
2. Listening to the wisdom found over the years – As we return each year, it is always revealing to see new attendees who have never been able to previously attend the annual meeting, but who now for some reason have made their way there. Listening to them speak of what they have done and where they now live, what their families look like etc. It is so interesting. Most of all though, as the years roll by , there is a sense of wisdom that was gained one way or another over the years. Hearing them speak of life’s experiences is so interesting. Whether the moments were about work, family or faith, the lessons learned are explained with great detail. Some tell their stories more colorfully than others, but the messages are deep and wise.
3. Knowing someone is out there – Being able to connect with these friends of old has a great calming sense of purpose. Life gets very busy, but being able to turn to people who you met years ago has a way of providing a reassurance. Hearing their stories can let you know your situation is not so bad.
4. Keeping the balance – inevitably, more than one person will say how much they wished they had done a little more toward keeping a better balance for their family and their faith while they were trying to make a name in business. This is one of those things that is such a distinct lesson for the younger members in our group. Pay heed to what the elders say. Challenge yourself to return at the 30, 35, or 40 year mark and have a different story to tell of how you DID find that balance.