A few years back, my high school graduating class celebrated our fiftieth anniversary with a reunion. It was a fully satisfying event, and I came away full of gratitude for these folks—who they were back then and who they are now. During the get-together, we wondered about the classmates that weren’t with us, and what has transpired in their lives. “Whatever happened to (fill in the blanks)?” was our fond and respectful question.
I ask that same question when I think about all the places our family has lived, all the wonderful people we’ve known and all the supportive relationships they made possible. The list of fondly-remembered others calls up spiritual curiosity as well. Here the question changes slightly to something like, “I wonder how God has blessed/used/cared for (fill in the blanks)?”
In some few instances—that 50th reunion, for example—I have realized that while I was wondering about wonderful people in my past, those same folks may have been wondering about me! Somewhere in the ethereal universe, our thoughts must surely have crossed paths, said hello and moved on. In even rarer moments, I’ve realized that these cherished ones and I were doing the same thing, perhaps simultaneously: Turning our curious thoughts into shared prayers.
Does this happen to you, too? Perhaps in the quiet of the night, there may be times when the past rises up to bless you, when someone here-and-now reminds you of someone then-and-there. At those moments, your yearning for knowledge about the well-being of long-ago colleagues, friends or fellow rabble-rousers rises to the top of your consciousness. And you want to know, ”Whatever happened to Wally, Dianne, Gary, Tex, Sherri, Joshua, Lee or Ted?” Where are they now? What became of their talents and energy? Who else has benefitted from their endearing personalities? What has God accomplished through them? And of course, how are they doing?
I don’t keep track of these folks as a daily practice. But I DO pray about and for them. Perhaps you do the same with your unforgotten ones. This seems especially important as we head into our later years. Remembering and even reconnecting so that these good people don’t grow old alone and forgotten. So they understand that they made a difference in my life. So they hear me ask for forgiveness for long-remembered mistakes or malfeasance. So they are reminded of their worth in the larger scheme of things.
That reunion was like a graceful melody that we 50th anniversary celebrants played and sang alongside each other. Those few days also anchored me to the realization that our collective life spans have been marked by meaning and purpose. The reunion was a reminder that “back then” continues into “right now”, that transcendence still fills our shared lives, and that we have much to be grateful for, even now.
For an enjoyable—and perhaps spiritual—experience, consider turning up the volume on your “Whatever happened to…?” musings, making them loud and lovely enough to compel you to reach out to some of your dear ones. To reminisce with encouragement and gratitude.
To rejoice that other reunions may still be possible….
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