Eighteen months ago we decided to attend our twenty-fifth college reunion. All I needed to do was get published, lose my gray hair, shed forty pounds, get my PhD, cure my nearsightedness, change my whole wardrobe, memorize my college yearbook, and condense the last quarter century to a thirty-second sound bite that ended with “…And that’s how I saved the world!”
We-e-e-ll, let’s just say I went anyway.
Some of my former classmates were indeed published authors. Tons more sported short, long, twisted, curled, purple, braided, straight, and yes, gray ’dos. My extra pounds and BA degree found ourselves in happy, similar company. I brought my glasses and left the mom jeans, forgot more names and faces than I remembered, and talked too much about the little people who rock my world daily. I loved, I laughed, I re-lived my not-so-glory days. All in all, I had a blast.
Looking back, I wonder at that introverted, anxious part of me that dreaded the weekend because I felt too unaccomplished, too pressed for time, too overwhelmed, too old… every “too” you can think of, including just too me. Even now, I think I could’ve said this, worn that, placed my feet this way for the picture, not asked who was singing (Rihanna, duh), started planking six months ago…and, and, and. The rest of me, however, is grateful Hubby ripped off the Band-Aid when he pried my fingers from the car door and dragged me into that first reception. My nails are torn, but they’re healing quite nicely.
But truly, it makes no sense how I fretted over homecoming weekend, how I assigned such make-or-break, life-or-death importance to it. While I keep asking myself, “Why did I wear my rain boots to the party?” let’s be real: people who didn’t think about me in rain boots before last Friday won’t spare me another thought after last Sunday. I’ve limped into Harris Teeter sporting tattered sweats; worn pin curls under my hat to football games; greeted friends in my pajamas and purple head scarf; kissed Hubby goodbye before I’ve brushed my teeth.
And worst of all, I’ve marched into church dressed to the nines, toting the same ol’ raggedy attitude and hard heart. Yet God said come as you are, not remain as you were. How is it that I show man more consideration than I show Him?
After all, it was God…
Who ordered my steps, before I step foot on my college campus nearly thirty years ago. He sent me Hubby, the G-Girls, my AKA sisters, and the best freshman roommate ever.
Who provided all that Domino’s Pizza I couldn’t afford in those hungry college days. He nourished my heart with song through the gospel choir and my mind with words like “effervescence” in Dr. Pollard’s religion class.
Who helped me recover from my first “C” on a paper, got me through Dr. McPherson’s literature class, and put together my amazing Shakespeare study group.
Who assigned all my days and set my beginning and my ending. He knew me before Mama carried me, when she expected a baby boy named Robert. He stamped “Author” on my heart well before the third grade, when I wrote seventy-two pages about a little girl who liked butter pecan ice cream.
Only God used a reunion weekend to truly bring it all together—times past, times present, times future. He replaced my mourning over aging to gratitude for life experience. He taught me that past mistakes are really lessons learned. He transformed my weariness over sowing seeds into a vision of the future harvest. Merciful God renewed old relationships, restoring what I thought I’d lost or broken. He enlarged my territory by reuniting my small circle. He showed me that I didn’t need a publishing contract, hair color, a thinner waistline, a graduate degree, 20/20 vision, new clothes, or a photographic memory to denote the significance of the last twenty-five years. God paid the price that gave my life meaning.
…And that’s how He keeps on saving the world.
“I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalm 118:5-9)