Last week was my 40th class reunion. I've never gone to a class reunion before for a few choice reasons.
A. I quit school in eleventh grade, got pregnant and married, then went and got my GED. Maybe not the most well-planned scheme I ever hatched; but in the end it worked out. I had a beautiful son and later, two more children and went on to college later in life.
B. I transferred to a new school in seventh grade where I didn't know anyone. I was shy and nerdy so it was hard to make friends. There were some 'popular' girls who made my life hell for a year. By high school I had my own circle of friends but I still hated those girls for the humiliation they put me through. And though I had a handful of friends, I really didn't know most of my graduating class.
So when hubby pointed out to me that this was the big '40' and urged me to go...I was pretty ambivalent about it all. (He, on the other hand, was one year behind me in high school and was friends with EVERYBODY...so he was looking forward to it.)
Finally, I decided to go. I've been taking some personal risks these days; working to get out of my comfort zone; so this event would push my boundaries. Boy, would it ever! Would they even let me in, having left in my junior year? Would those mean girls be there...and would they be mean women now? What if absolutely nobody knew me?
So we went. They did let me in. A few people knew me. Everybody knew hubby. The mean girls didn't come. (A few days earlier I googled them and read--with some unrighteous satisfaction--that one of them has been bankrupt, lost everything and convicted of shoplifting twice just this year. Don't feel too sorry for her. She was shoplifting all through high school; along with her siblings AND parents!) Anyway, it went fine. Everybody was all grown up now; turning grey and bald and flabby...and nice!
But all this ugly emotional 'stuff' surfaced as I went through this process. I thought I'd forgiven all of my enemies and even myself for the dumb things I did back then...but oh my, what angst I was feeling about it all.
So this morning I sat down with my Bible and purposed to do some serious forgiving. The mean girls...myself...my parents for making me move to a new school when it was so hard...just everybody; you know?
As I began praying and naming the offenders and forgiving them...in my mind's eye I could see myself on a wet sandy beach with several buckets hooked over my arm. They were full of heavy, wet, mucky sand. I could barely walk they were so heavy. So I decided to dump one of them out onto the beach. The waves came and whisked the pile of sand away. My walk became a little easier. So I dumped another. And another. By now I'm sure you've guessed that the buckets of sand were offenses that I've been packing around.
You know, there are so many imperfect people walking around on this planet (me included) that offenses and hurts are going to be as numerous as the grains of sand by the ocean. But if we insist on lugging those buckets-full of hurts all our life; our walk on the beach, which could be wonderful and peaceful and serene and lovely; well, it'll just be drudgery.
Better to walk without heavy buckets of sludge. Put your toes in the surf. Maybe skip over the waves. Fly a kite and look at the sky.
So for now I've abandoned my buckets and am walking free. Knowing myself as I do, I know I'll be tempted to get out my shovel and dig up some emotional sand before this journey is over. But even if I do; I hope I remember this lesson I learned today. Life's just too short and the walk too lovely to be weighed down like that.
Will I go to my 50th reunion? Not likely. But not because I'm scared of mean girls. I just have other beaches to explore.