Four things that stand out about my class reunion

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Dick Murphy, me, Wayne Bridegroom, John DeVries

I attended my first college reunion last weekend. It was my 50th. There have been plenty of other opportunities to go back over the years that never interested me, but this one got my attention. Fifty was a good round number, and I figured, in terms of all of the possible reunions, it might be the one year to go. And when I found out that three of my best friends from our class were going, I couldn’t resist. What I found out I didn’t expect.

First, I found out that everyone appeared to be much older than me. Of course this was not true since we were all the same age. It just meant we had a head start on our own rationalizations. And you can be sure that everyone felt this same way — that they were the youngest-looking. We didn’t get the benefit of watching everyone else age. With everyone else, it was the immediate shock of seeing them now, when the last image of them in our minds was what they looked like 50 years ago. That’s a stark reality right there.

Second, they were all accomplished. There were authors, pastors, missionaries, social workers, veterinarians, professors, lawyers, doctors, nurses, judges, PhDs, CEOs, business owners, and at least one university president. The end result of this realization was to be very humbled, and to be inspired. I have yet to accomplish my best work. Not done yet; not even close.

Third, they all love the Lord and are passionate about their faith, even more so than when we were in college. We prayed. We sang hymns. (I can’t even remember the last time I sang a hymn.) Often you would see two, three or four of them huddled together praying, and no one told them to.

Fourth, one of the most meaningful moments was also the most sobering. It was a video tribute to the 25 members of our class who had passed away since we graduated. The inevitable reality that the number of people in that room would be diminishing with subsequent reunions was impossible to miss, further underlining the need and the desire to make these last years count.

Our class favorite:

May the mind of Christ my Savior

Kate B, Wilkinson (1859 – 1928)

May the mind of Christ my Savior

Live in me from day to day,

By His love and pow’r controlling

All I do and say.

May the Word of Christ dwell richly

In my heart from hour to hour,

So that all may see I triumph

Only through His pow’r.

May the peace of Christ my Savior

Rule my life in everything,

That I may be calm to comfort

Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me,

As the waters fill the sea;

Him exalting, self abasing,

This is victory.

May I run the race before me,

Strong and brave to face the foe,

Looking only unto Jesus

As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me

As I seek the lost to win,

And may they forget the channel,

Seeing only Him.

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4 Responses to Four things that stand out about my class reunion

  1. kellief4 says:

    I’m so glad you went. Often we wait too late to reconnect. Somehow with age, the playing field is leveled, the baggage has been left behind, and finally you see that everyone actually got around to living and thriving wherever their path took them.

    My 92-yr-old mom is constantly saying “they look so old”, “they don’t look at all like I remember”, etc etc. It’s really amusing when it’s someone my age (56) and she thinks they look ‘so old’. And yes, she also thinks she looks like she’s still in her 70s!!

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    I laughed over your friends looking older, I know my High School & college friends on Facebook seem to look older than me, LOL

  3. It would also be meaningful to read about those others from the class of ’69 who didn’t achieve the accomplishments they aspired to: The ones who failed to graduate for whatever reasons; the souls who were left behind and/or cast aside because they chose different paths that didn’t exactly line up with school teaching or church doctrine; the individuals who came away with different answers or solutions from what was being taught; young Christians whose love for Christ may have wavered and whom may have been considered backsliders – who still may or may not be in that state of decision and indecision; the ones who were pressured and expected to perform in manners imposed upon them by families, authorities or others from the school and church; those who walked away feeling dismissed, ostracized, or even “unclean”, and felt let down by the hope-filled promises of tenured faculty and sturdier students than they; the others who skipped the reunion because they rarely knew what is was like to be appreciated, understood, valued, included, or genuinely welcomed into the ranks of their classmates and professors – the outcasts.
    Surely there are some of those souls out there right now who may follow the Catch simply because of the Wheaton connection.

    Success stories are great and inspiring but who ever writes about the so-called failures?
    Are they still seeking the Lord, still seeking His wisdom and guidance?
    Are they still hoping that a former classmate or graduation class might reach out to them in pure Christian love; both parties realizing the need for empathy, forgiveness, and exercising the kind of non-judgmental acceptance as expressed by Jesus himself?
    If shame or discouragement or cynicism is what they’ve borne over these last five decades, who is willing to speak on their behalf?

    Is such a person reading this right now? If so, what is your story?
    I believe it would be beneficial for all of us to come together – maybe not in a reunion sense but in a way that only the Holy Spirit can draw us together.
    If this Gospel of Welcome is the real deal then there is no reason to fear.
    Honest Christ-like Love cancels out the trepidations associated with rejection, prejudice, dishonesty, snubbing, and judgement.
    Come, let us all gather together at the Pool of Living Water and drink from it together.
    Here, we will find refreshment, acceptance, and… Shalom – perfect Peace.

    Who will step forward?

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