We walked into a building and signed in. Then we looked around at the people milling around. Some were immediately recognizable. Others required a look at their name tags and a few questions. Others, we just couldn’t figure out.
Then we looked at a list. I read the names on the list. It seemed so strange to see the names of all these young and hopeful people on a list of those who have died.
But then, we aren’t all that young anymore. It was our graduating class reunion—45 years later. We were the old people hanging around a school normally populated by people who could be—sometimes are—our grandkids. To them we are a though in the back of their minds. Just like people were to us 45 years ago.
Donna and I have never been to one of these reunions before, but we were able to drive to this one, so we decided we wanted to go.
And we’re glad we did.
Seeing these people and spending a few days talking with them has reminded me of a few important things.
One is that the Lord hasn’t exempted us from life’s vicissitudes. Some are no longer with us. Some are physically struggling. Some were struggling in other ways. At times we have become those old people who talk about their illnesses and health issues.
But we’re still here.
Another lesson is what God can do with raw material. Over 600 of us graduated that year. We were teenagers. Some clearly full of potential, others not so clearly, and some seemingly doomed to failure.
But God doesn’t conform to our opinions, and He isn’t limited by our vision. He has taken us to places we didn’t envision. He has used so many of these people—these kids graduating from high school—in so many ways that it is fair to say we have made a difference in the world, and in individual lives.
But more than anything I have been reminded of the fact that God’s creations are wonder-ful. Each of us—every one of us—made in His image. Each of us has lived a life full of years, and those years full of experiences, trials, triumphs, despair and extraordinary joy.
Many of us were able to reflect on the past years with understanding, even wisdom. Story after story was shared about how life was launched with a specific trajectory programmed by what we had already experienced at 18, but determined by what we did with that trajectory.
I wish I could write about each story I heard to illustrate how God has worked in each of us, sometimes without us even knowing.
But the fact is every one of us has a story.
I believe a gifted writer could interview any person who came this weekend and produce a fascinating biography from what was shared.
We need to remember this—I need to remember this—when I’m talking with people back in my “normal life”.
Every person we talk to is God’s creation.
Every one of us is someone whom Jesus loves and for whom He died.
Every one of us is diminished by the loss of any other of us. We don’t always realize it. But we are.
Life itself is amazing, and each life lived is a story of what we have done with what God has given us. There is no greater adventure.
As we realize this, we grow to respect each person we meet, and value their stories. Each story a record of God’s hand touching people, and their response to Him.
Know Jesus and Be Faithful.