Class Reunions and Homecomings

Class Reunions and Homecomings

Are you going back this year? Will you attend homecoming and/or your high school or college reunion? Is the class of 1964, ‘74, ‘84, ’94, or 2004 beckoning you to come back and see all your long-lost pals?

Sometimes we want to go back. Sometimes we don’t. My conclusion is that yesterday looks better and better in the rearview mirror. The things that once embarrassed us when we were cool young college students are not so embarrassing now that we have kids of our own. The failures that marked us early in life have melted away as we learned to accept who we are.  We have less to prove. We’re all aging. Raising kids has humbled, if not humiliated, us.

It takes time for these things to happen to our self-perspective. Then we can risk going back to the Homecoming Class Reunion.

It strikes me that “decaying” is necessary for us to be who we really are with our old friends. “Decay” is at the heart of the word we use to mark time – “decade.”  If you take photos of us every 10 years and line them up side by side, the decaying process is obvious. But in the art of remembering yesterday with our yesterday pals, we are suddenly young again.

I saw it happen earlier this month at Trevecca Nazarene University. People past 50 laughing harder than they have laughed in years. The class of ’64, now in their late sixties, played like college kids with music and stories and tall tales of campus pranks. Old guyfriends and girlfriends were sized up for how they had held up.  Athletic feats were exaggerated—again. Hints were dropped about how well they were doing. And then, masks begin to come off as honest people shared pain, sickness, and disappointment with old friends. The event went well past its stated ending time. They didn’t want to leave because they had stepped into their memories and found them to be sacred.

The comment that meant most to me came from a spouse who had never attended Trevecca. She was a heroic tag-along listening to all the stories told about her husband that she met post-college. She said, “I went to a large state school and have never been back for a reunion. Truth is, I haven’t kept up with any of them and they wouldn’t know me. You know, you have something really special here. Forty years later these people still remember, know, and love each other. I’d give anything to have attended Trevecca, to have people like this to call friends.”

That’s why I love my job. It still happens at Trevecca.

(Click here to see photos from Trevecca’s 2014 Homecoming on Flickr.)

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