I must write this down.
Even if for no other reason than to document and preserve the memory and feelings I’ve had since last evening.
We attended a local spaghetti supper to benefit a community. It is a yearly event and the food is outstanding with a large gathering of people who come and go throughout the day. I often see people whom I have either worked with or know from my hometown/community. There is all-you-can-eat spaghetti, salad bar (in a canoe!), homemade soups and desserts.
As I came to the end of the canoe and was reviewing the various salad dressings I felt someone touch my back. I turned to find the smiling face of a former schoolmate of mine whom I haven’t seen for many years. She game me a huge hug and we talked for approximately two minutes and ended with another hug. It is hard to describe the feelings I’ve had since that moment. It was wonderful to see “M” even though we weren’t close friends in school. She was always part of the ‘in crowd,’ had many friends, boyfriends, the best clothes and involved in many school activities. I often was jealous of her and her friends because it seemed like they had everything one could ever want. My school years weren’t the happiest of my life due to being picked-on by so many in our small high school and having very few friends to support me (it seemed like they abandoned me too, at times). I ended up getting an after-school job at age 16 at the local supermarket and worked a lot with no social life at all. I am very happy that my life has turned out better than it appeared it would be when I was a teenager.
Seeing “M” was really nice, actually. I have avoided all of the class reunions that have happened since my high school graduation and I currently have very-rare contact with a couple of girls from my class. But seeing “M” was really good and that has surprised me. Maybe it is because time has changed us both and we’ve learned many life lessons and have forgotten all of the childish things that occurred between us in those dark days of school. I learned a long time ago that no matter how good someone else’s life may appear to us it may be that they are struggling with so much and their life could be worse than our own. Maybe “M’s” life wasn’t as good as it appeared to me; maybe she was struggling at home, too, with so much. A few years ago “M’s” sister succumbed to her demons and took her own life. She was a very popular, always-smiling girl in our school. I was shocked when I learned that news and often think of her. I remember she gave me a senior photo with the sweetest words written on the back. I still have that and have often thought of that nice gesture to me. When she gave me that photo I was over the moon after reading those words. It made such a difference to me in those rough school days.
I am very happy that “M” made the decision to walk over to me when she saw me (I hadn’t seen her). I’ve been thinking about her and our conversation and it wasn’t a bad experience to see her. I always avoided classmates because I didn’t want to dig up all of those bad memories and feelings from yesteryear.
God does place people in front of us for a reason. And there must be a reason that he placed “M” there for me last evening. In His time I shall learn that, I’m sure.