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history, mystery, and what I wore # 4

October 26, 2011

[Happy Wednesday, and welcome to Chasing Maybes. Here, I stare down my preferences and prejudices, one Trivial Pursuit category at a time.  I’m nearly finished with October’s category:  History.  I’m also linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy for her What I Wore Wednesday series.]

image by neal fowler via flickr

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reuniting, reuniting, reuniting like a maniac and — for the most part — it feels so good (disco earworm for the day courtesy of Peaches and Herb).

Last weekend, I attended my college reunion, which was preceded by a high school reunion of my husband’s.  The week before that, I had lunch with a woman I hadn’t seen since we were in high school together two decades ago.  Next weekend?  I’m headed to another of Steve’s reunions.  So much reuniting. That’s a whole lot of name tags, small talk, and cheap Chardonnay, folks. 

I said reuniting feels good for the most part.  Please don’t misunderstand me — these events are festive and surprising, thick with stories I have forgotten and faces I have missed.  I find it stunning to actually wander back to a space and time with my traveling companions, now thirtysomethings like I am, at my side.

[Aside:  as I was writing this post, I read the Facebook status update of a friend from my North Carolina UU fellowship.  Having just met with a school classmate she hadn’t seen in 57 years, she wrote of “something very touching and rich about sharing life journeys with folks who we knew before we morphed into who we are now!”  Ain’t that the truth.]

For me, the downside of too much history-dwelling is that it distracts me from the present.  It deceives me, sketching the past in colors that can’t make any sense today.

For example, as I ran along the edge of my alma mater’s tree-lined campus last weekend, two far-flung friends by my side, I drifted into thoughts like, “Why didn’t I appreciate all of this possibility when it was in my lap all those years ago?  Why wasn’t I more grateful for all of this beauty?”  The October sunshine glinting off the clock tower answered:  “Because you should be grateful now.” 

image by brisbane falling via flickr

Little is the same.  An eighteen year-old girl and a thirty-eight year old woman?  Entirely different colors.

My reunion found many of us shined up in new clothes, or boasting initials after our names, or arm-linked to beautiful spouses.  After all, this was Nashville, a city whose rich history belies its sometimes honky-tonk, often glamorously-costumed surface.  My favorite connection was to the old friend who greeted me on Friday night with, “Last month, I was laid off from my job.  My wife divorced me two weeks ago.  I’d like to just avoid all of the pretense and give you the true story of how I’m actually doing, if that’s all right with you.”  A defense against pain delivered with a characteristic twinkle in his eye, this refreshing introduction broke through any glamorous costume I might have worn.  How could I not embrace him for that?

What I wore on the plane: blazer — AE via Goodwill, jeans — Target, t-shirt — Target, scarf — ancient, boots — Steve Madden via Seattle thrift store, bad lighting — early morning flight

Reunions are one small piece of history, but — at present — they are relevant history.  It is complicated to review the past with the present’s critical eye, but, for me, the payoff was a weekend spent with the best friends I can imagine.  Better still, I got to return to a houseful of boys who love me seamlessly, come what may.

“What on earth does this ramble have to do with What I Wore Wednesday?” you muse, scratching your head and wondering if you’ve ended up at this post by mistake.

Here’s the thing: my recent runs through history remind me that costumes of any sort are meaningless to those who matter.  From the people who love me, I long ago received permission to be unglamorous, without pretense, and flawed.  This is God, to me.  For this comfort, I offer the gratitude I’ve spent a lifetime amassing. 

Hey, here’s to a week of authentic reunions, sunshine, and comfortable friends for the journey.  Thanks so much for showing up.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Aunt Sissy permalink
    October 26, 2011 7:29 pm

    “We don’t remember days, we remember moments.” But I can’t remember where I read it or who should get credit.

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