Forty Years Ago

Someone posted our high school class picture from 40 years ago!

Forty. Years. Ago!

That’s how long Moses and the Israelites wandered in the wilderness!

A little over 300 of us, all in purple gowns, grabbed a diploma, walked across the stage, and waltzed into life. 

When we graduated 40 years ago — Ronald Reagan was fresh on the job, the space shuttle had just made its maiden voyage, a new disease called AIDS would be announced two weeks after graduation, and two months after that, IBM would introduce something called a “personal computer”.  

With the unbridled power of technology and social media, it’s been fun to “reconnect” with some I haven’t seen since graduation day.

For the most part, the ladies of the 1981 Angleton High School class look the same.

On the flip side, we guys….uhh, umm, mmm.  Salt and pepper facial hair, bald heads, big bellies, and you’ve never worn sun screen skin, all make the guys hard to recognize!

Thank the Lord for name tags!

Some aren’t with us anymore.

Car accident. Cancer. Heart attack. Suicide.

Death is a dirty side of life, but without death, there is no life.

And since we’re all roughly 58 years old, give or take, there’s more life in the rearview mirror than in the front windshield. 

I guess there’s always seasons of life when we tend to look back and reminisce. 

The fun times become even funnier, bigger, better.  And sometimes, the sad times still sting leaving us soothing wounds and mourning losses.

Maybe because it’s been 40 years now, but ever since seeing that old class picture again, I’ve thought a lot about those days. 

Life just goes so fast.

You can’t catch wind. You can’t hold water. Can’t count grains of sand.  Life can slip through the fingers just like that. 

But I can hold a few drops of water, count a few grains of sand, and remember those slivers of time with fondness, and sometimes, regret.   

Second by second, day by day, year by year, our appointed days tick off the clock. Someday, some place, somehow, the clock battery will stop ticking.

I remember thinking back in the days just before high school graduation too. Maybe it was the first of those seasons to do so.  Remembering, looking back, seeing it all in black and white nostalgia.

On the other hand, there were shivers of excitement about bright futures and possibilities ahead.  All of us were full of dreams, hopes and ambitions, even if was just simply to be. 

Some of us were already entangled with curveballs from our own mistakes, disappointments and hurts that life pitches across our home plate.  Anyone who didn’t know them then, does now.

No one emerges unscathed. To one extent or another, we’ve all been hurt, damaged and broken. 

Nobody escapes the loss of loved ones. Nobody, even if just occasionally, doesn’t struggle with something.  We have those pesky fears, pains, insecurities, mistakes, things that sometimes mount upon us like hot coals on the shoulders.

Back then I felt so grown, mature, and certainly, smart. I knew a LOT back then. In fact, I pretty much had all the answers to the world’s problems … for everything!  All you had to do was ask.  I would’ve been happy to tell you.

Not anymore though. Now, I have far more questions than answers.  The few answers I do have, they’re rock solid, build your life on answers!

I wonder, is the best definition of wisdom knowing how little I really know?  I don’t even know that for sure.  

Thumbing back through the old yearbook, we were just baby adults, sprigs, budding leaves on our family trees. 

As time marched on, we became branches, then limbs. 

Many of us are no longer branches, but the trunk of the family tree. We reach down grasping for deep roots to stand strong and tall in a confused, ever changing, ever shifting world we live in today.

Our children, grandchildren, even great grandchildren for some, they are the branches now with their own baby adults, sprigs, budding leaves on our family tree.

We’re the ones now charged with giving little runny nose children who resemble us a sense of stability.  We are the trunks holding together mighty family trees. 

Already for some, soon for others, many more gray hair years for yet others, one day we will each relinquish our position as trunk of the family tree.  The branches will grow bigger, grow down, and become the trunk. 

Our bodies will enter a dirt doze.  Forty years after that, we’ll be a faded, blurry picture in the family album. 

Descendants who are still years away from the conception of life, who share our blood and carry notes of our DNA, they will stare at our pictures. 

They’ll ask what we were like, what we did, and wonder what we would tell them now, if only we could.       

It sounds bleak, cold, meaningless.  It’s not. Not at all!

It is life, and death. It’s purpose, and hope. It’s now, and then.

It’s just another graduation, another stage of existence.  Our spirits will forever reside with Christ in heaven, or eternally separated from all that is good.   

Either way, we all eventually graduate from life itself, and then, only the rock solid answers will really matter. 

In the meantime, I’m going to sit here and reminisce a little more about that graduating class from 40 years ago.

26 thoughts on “Forty Years Ago”

  1. Moments may seem to crawl but the years fly. I’m a wee bit older than you Jeff and I relegate my wisdom to the dog and the hummingbirds on the deck now and then. Once in awhile I say something really wise in a blog by mistake. We have some of the same rock solid answers, I’m sure if it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post and oh so true. Sometimes I wonder how many of my classmates are still around after 59 years. I know that of my group of girlfriends there are only two of us left. At least that I know of. Two of the group I am unable to find. Maybe our blogs will be out there for our descendants?? Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Either way, we all eventually graduate from life itself, and then, only the rock solid answers will really matter. ” Like Carole says, “Amazing how our perspective shifts as we get closer to the finish line.” Strange how true wisdom takes a lifetime to find. And then we begin to realize that Jesus was truly there all along. Blessings to you and yours Jeff, good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So fun to look back and reminisce and learn all the different paths each student decided to take. I like to think I was 25 when I realized I didn’t know everything. It was then that I realized I really didn’t know anything. The other day I had to run a long errand in our old town. It was fun to think back through all the years and realize how far we’ve come and how much we’ve lived!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a hard slap in the face to learn I didn’t (and don’t) don’t know an awful lot! And yes, Robyn, it is fun to look back “and realize how far we’ve come and how much we’ve lived!” Keep enjoying the day, friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That was a big class. I graduated from high school in 1967 and I think there were only about 15 of us in the class. I have been to a couple of reunions but not recently . They are on the west coast and I live now in the Eastern part of Canada. Nice post Jeff full of interesting reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am what we call a “native born Canadian” It seems to me that term should the privilege indigenous people but anyway. Ilived in England for almost 15 years in my 20s and early 30s but other than that I’ve been a Canuck.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Since COVID ruined our 50th anniversary last year, they had a 51st this year. They only advertised on Facebook and since I rarely go there, I first heard about it by seeing the pictures of the party. We have not lost many, but one was to suicide. Seeing your trip down memory lane reminded me of my own. And as for the purpose of life that you mentioned… Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow; I graduated 20 years ago. 20 years ago was your 20 years anniversary. Thinking how fast the last 20 years went from 18-38, I imagine it feels faster 38-58?

    Like

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