The past couple of days have floated by as if I was in a dream, dreaming I was in a dream. In other words my mind’s metal activity has been on overdrive after receiving a post card from my high school reunion team inviting me to our 45th get-together.
Normally I am not the type of person that shies away from reminiscing about my former days—I feel that a certain amount of nostalgia is a good balancing feature for our fast-paced lives. I would never describe myself as morose but am aware that my DNA is infused with a certain amount of melancholy—not enough to cause depression but just enough to promote deep, lingering thoughts and emotional responses that help me appreciate the life I have been given.
So, to then say that I have been caught a bit off balance by thoughts of visiting my hometown again and meeting people I have not seen in many, many years is no great stretch.
What I am aware of more than anything is the fact that I have led an incredibly rich and rewarding life. I made it through a lot of situations during my youthful days that could have placed me at risk of living past thirty. In the process of “finding myself” I wasn’t always aware of the consequences of my actions or in-actions—but I was always cognizant of the fact that I was being watched and somehow protected from critical harm.
After getting married and becoming a Christian, it was easy for me to see that there were angels watching over me during those reckless years. Yet during the past few days of wandering around the re-union website and interacting with people from my distant past, many more questions than answers about the nature of life and living have been raised.
I guess in one sense I feel some “survivors guilt” over the state of my life as compared to others I have come in contact with through the re-union site, trips to Facebook friends pages and a recent, early church family, gathering.
Has my life been blessed in a different fashion from others simply because I am a part of the church and have attempted to acknowledge “Him” in all my ways as I am encouraged to do in scripture. And while I may believe that this is true, it leaves a lot of questions still unanswered about the nature of life on earth and each person’s journey through it.
But I guess people have been asking these types of questions ever since Cain killed Abel—why the one died and the other was spared—why some people are healthy and others prone to getting sick—why there are rich and poor and many in-between.
I have come to understand that some of us are what I would call the “walking wounded” or fractured individuals. We are never quite “whole” but we have learned to live beyond the parts that would limit us from interacting with life on a positive note. We have learned to make choices that build up rather than tear down and in most things accept that which we have no control over.
I am reminded of two incidents in my life that turned out to my benefit but could just as easily gone the other way.
Once, on a tired, late afternoon trip to take one of the kids to the State Fair, I was traveling a little too fast on a dangerous stretch of two-lane road that North Carolina is/was famous for. I was “startled” to find myself approaching a cross-roads where several cars were stopped waiting for one car to turn to the left. I quickly realized that I had no chance of stopping and instinctively swerved to the right, entered a patch of road side shoulder about 15 feet wide and miraculously made it the two hundred or so feet around the cars and back onto the road without hitting anything but tall weeds and a bit of gravel.
Suffice it to say, had I hit any of those cars at my speed, lots of people would have been seriously hurt and I most likely would not be here today.
Another time, I was stopped at an intersection on a major highway about two miles from my home. Just as the light turned green, I accelerated only to have my faithful car stall. I was impatient as I tried to start it and then, just as it fired up, I looked across the intersection to see a speeding motorcycle run the red light. The same motorcycle that would have crashed into my passenger side door at high speed had not my car stalled at the very moment it did. The car had never stalled before and would never stall again while I owned it.
Another coincidence—I can’t really say for certain. Do I believe that my life and others were spared as a result of outside forces that I am not fully capable of explaining—yes. Does that make the answers to my recent questions any easier—no.
A friend of mine once said after explaining something to me that we were still confused but at a much higher level and about more important things.
I guess that is where I will land with this one—an attempt to dig into a subject that has no easy answers without giving the impression that I think that I am somehow more special than anyone else. Do I feel blessed—yes! Do I have any pat answers for you when you think you aren’t: not today—but I am still pondering the question.
Enjoy your ride!