I thought a month ago one could not go home again. Now, after another trip to Houston and in a setting that was not one held in my memories, things were different to me. I realize that I have changed as I move through the processes of closure, some with grief, and find there is newness on the other side of the process. Galena Park High School Class Reunion, Class of 1969 – that’s right 45 years since I completed my high school education. My participation in what I consider to be a watershed event for me was in due, in part, to a renewed sense of connection with the same person who encouraged me to attend the 70th Homecoming of the FBCJC one month ago – Cheryl Ferguson Dupuy. She did not know her role in setting me on this journey, but God uses everyone who is willing, and I find that she is filled with joy, peace and laughter, one who genuinely loves. The reminder that God brings people into our lives for a purpose, for a season … is a truth for me, and this re-entrance into my life has proven to be just that. Previously when I attended two other class reunions, there was one person with whom I would comfortably interact, that person has gone home to be with the Lord. Cheryl has become that bridge for me, and she did not realize the role she was fulfilling in my life. She never left the community of our childhood, so her connections and vision of a connected life became my pathway of connection, if for only a season. Going to Houston this time was different from all the others. First, I knew she would be there, but most importantly, my husband was making this journey with me. He knew no one, except Cheryl who he met just a month ago. God had my eagle’s wings prepared for me … to carry me through the process. There were people there that I knew the names and some with only “name” references to me since my graduating class was over 300 in size. I knew Judy Kerley Myers would be there and she and I had reconnected just a few years ago via Facebook and through email. Others I had hoped would be there were not, but that is a good thing because I had to be open to what God had planned for me. The high school competition was no longer in the fore front; we were no longer trying to prove ourselves, status no longer played that large of a role in our interactions. I never thought to ask anyone what they had “accomplished” for I felt equal somehow. My classroom “buddies” were not there, I was walking among strangers yet equals. The class president was just like me, the popular ones were like the rest of us, glad that we were not the ones on the In Remembrance CD that was looped on the respectfully placed laptop. Many had survived Cancer, disease, divorce – as human as me. I never thought that would happen. I was able to sit and talk with one classmate for a couple of hours in the afternoon who has such a lovely relationship with God, Glenda Mancill Northcutt, and that really made me feel at home before the main function, and I was more at ease joining the main function because I had located someone who was not ashamed to speak of God, and another who was complimentary of my openness to talk about my journey of faith in public – saying it was refreshing to hear our open discussion of God, church, faith and family … the role of it in shaping our lives. I love to watch people, I am a behaviorist, and I observed the movements, laughter and the comfort in the group, conversations at every table, in small groups and of course, the recalling of our youthful lives. We were a graying group, a slower moving group and a grateful group, grateful that we could be where we were at that moment in time. Over 40 of our classmates have died, and whether we were the most likely to succeed, the most popular or the most intelligent, or the one who followed the rules … that was not present in this group. I found I remembered two women there very clearly, but the others were names with faces because I was not allowed to participate in events in high school if it was not with the choir or school related activity. But I learned new things about so many, just from watching them. Some were still very outgoing and demonstrated great social skills, while I would feel lost when my husband would step away to go talk with one of my classmates who was also militarily disposed, and I am grateful he found that connection. Being able to observe, to watch and to contemplate each person who held no special place, just that we had gone through a rite of passage together, completed a life activity for me because I now feel connected. I had not socially dated anyone who was there, had not shared secrets with any of them in my early life because my church friends were not there, except Cheryl Ferguson-Dupuy and Janet Warren-Williams. Hearing the laughter reminded me that there are things about youth that was such a blessing, observing the “connectedness” of the couples was refreshing, and knowing that none of us had anything to prove made the evening memorable, I heard no career talk, and the cliques of high school were gone because none of us needed to create who we were, we had all moved through that and most acutely aware of our mortality. My nervousness before hand was wasted, again God tells us to “… be anxious for nothing … (Philippians 4:6)” and at some point I will actually heed that promise. Acceptance by my peers was not needed, we all knew who we were, how we had maybe missed one target in life but had grown in our own separate journeys, just the way we are suppose to do. For sure, we all moved slower, and when we posed for the group picture, with some of us sitting on the floor to facilitate the large group, we heard pops and groans, had to have help getting up, but we were where we needed to be at that time. No one was in a hurry, guys weren’t conquering their “quests” and we ladies were not looking for “the one”, we are older and wiser, what a journey. The old tunes, the glimpses into the past, and the different setting removed the “ghosts” of high school days and opened a new doorway for me. I left happy in the moment, content with that portion of my past and glad to have had the opportunity to see our humanity, our common humanity. I did not laugh a lot in high school because I was bound by the chains of studying hard, making the grades that would please my parents and being “obedient” to authority. Those chains are now gone, I purposely let the chains fall away on Saturday night and found a common union with those very people who were kids when I was a kid – we all have been busy living – and this many years down the road, just living remains a full time job.