Fifty years ago I graduated from high school. Along with approximately 150 of my classmates, I celebrated this historical fact this weekend.
This was only the second of several class reunions I have attended. I actually felt lost and out of place at the only other one I attended. My closest friends in high school were my church friends. Only three of those were in my graduating class and they did not go to the reunion.
The committee in charge of this reunion did a good job of providing several different activities to accommodate diverse tastes and interests. I chose three of those, but backed out of one at the last minute, because I was enjoying the first one too much.
I regretfully hadn’t attended other reunions because I feared it would turn out like the only other one I’ve attended. I believe now the problem with the first reunion was my inability to connect with people. It still is difficult for me.
Experience has shown me that my fear of not fitting in is a problem with being too self-focused. I wasn’t as smart. I wasn’t as tough. I wasn’t as talented. I wasn’t as athletic. I wasn’t as attractive, rich, popular, etc. Do you see the selfish “I”? Look closely and you’ll also see the prejudices as well.
I was judging other’s response to me based on my prejudices. Smart people only accept other smart people. Popular people only hang out with other popular people. Athletes think they’re better than me. In other words, if I am not like them, they won’t like me.
The embarrassment for me is that I should have known better. I was raised by parents who took me to church where Jesus Christ was introduced to me as One to pattern my life after. Yet, somehow, I missed the most impressive point Jesus taught.
Somehow, I learned to be self-focused. I should do this and not that. I should think this and not that. Somehow, “I should” and “I shouldn’t” became the focus. Thank God, I am learning how that focus is what Christ was most critical about.
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
John 6:38 NIV
Christ’s focus was upward then outward and his teaching was for us to do the same. It is my natural first choice to be self-focused. I started out being self-focused, worried that people would not remember me. Several of them didn’t, but it didn’t matter. The most beautiful moments came when the attention was on other’s accomplishments, interests, memories, and future plans.
I quickly learned that my fellow classmates have done and are still doing wonderful and even fascinating things. I also found that many of them have experienced and overcome some of the worst life deals out. I found strength and encouragement from both their accomplishments and the challenges. I found, too, that they were interested in where I’d been, what I’d seen, and where I’m heading.
By not being self-focused, worrying about how someone might perceive me or whether or not they remembered me or how they were going to remember me, I really enjoyed my reunion with my classmates.
I have to believe that approach to all encounters is at the heart of God’s will for our lives. I believe that starts with laying aside our will which is our focus and making God’s plans and purpose the focus. I believe this because I came away from the earlier reunion disappointed and insignificant. I left this weekend’s reunion enriched and connected to community.
Categories: Personal Insight
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at email@example.com.