When I was a little girl in the not-so-popular crowd, staying home on the weekends to study while the cool kids were out having fun with their friends, my mom always comforted me with the following words of experience:
“Don’t worry, honey. When I went back to my high school reunion, all the popular kids had gotten fat.”
Ok maybe her advice didn’t go quite like that, but that was the basic message I heard. Peaking in high school was a bad thing. For the rest of us, the best was yet to come.
Well I’ve been reflecting on my mom’s words as my TEN YEAR REUNION approaches. I still can’t believe it! I feel so old. But what I’ve been thinking about even more is how people will look at me. What will people think about my life and what I have achieved. Will they be impressed? Will they think I’m weird because I’m in ministry? (probably) Will they still not talk to me because I wasn’t cool then, so I’m still not cool now?
(And as an interesting side note I should add that I went to the same school with the same people for 12 years, which means that I have a 12 year long reputation bearing down on me.)
Well I’m gonna be honest–my reflections on this upcoming event have not at all been pure. When I show up to the reunion I will be newly married to a guy that I happen to think is pretty hot, so I’ll be super excited to show him off.
And that makes me kinda sad. Of all the things I’ve done since high school, is landing a *hot* husband really the greatest?
Uh, no. Aside from the fact that Ike is an amazing man with a godly heart who is going to be an incredible minister one day (attributes against which his hotness easily pales in comparison) I am also a minister myself, and a writer to young women around the world. I try to serve God and love people to the best of my ability, and I’ve had a lot of really amazing experiences as a result.
But the world doesn’t really care about those things, so I’ve been reveling in my superficial achievements instead.
With all of this in mind, I think that high school reunions can be really useful tools in getting to know ourselves better. Just think for a second–when you imagine your high school reunion, how do you feel? Are you excited to brag about your success in business, how you married right out of college, or that you have a second home at the beach?
Or, are you anxious about your high school reunion because you haven’t been that successful, you’re still single, or you don’t make a lot of money?
Most likely your answer to those questions says a lot about your priorities. You see, high school reunions have an amazing knack for identifying our practical saviors–the one thing that we really depend on for security and satisfaction in this world.
At high school reunions we feel as if our lives are being measured and judged, and we want to be judged favorably. We may have lived a life honoring to God, but that doesn’t sound very impressive to the world, so we we put ungodly pressure on ourselves to measure up. We begin to value those things which God does not value. And while our high school reunions do highlight those misplaced priorities, reunions are not the source of them. They’re only an indicator of a much greater spiritual problem.
So whether you’re still in high school, your next reunion is 10 years away, or you’ve got one right around the corner, ask yourself what you want to be remembered for. In an abstract setting, we usually answer that question with noble aspirations like “Helping mankind” or “Being a great wife and mom” or “Serving God and His Kingdom,” but those generally aren’t the answers we give at high school reunions. Instead visualize yourself within the concrete context of your high school reunion and be honest–what are you excited about, or nervous about? Most likely you will discover an area that needs to be surrendered to Christ.
I will close with an anecdote from my 5 year reunion that always makes me laugh to remember. I was about to leave for a mission trip to Africa when I attended my reunion. I was going to Cameroon to educate students about AIDS, and I was really excited about it. Well during the reunion one of my former classmates, who had since become a golf pro, asked me about my own plans for the future. When I told him I was going to Africa, he looked at me in utter amazement and near disgust as he asked, “Why would you ever want to go there??”
I guess the golf courses in Africa aren’t as good. Ohh high school reunions. 🙂