Golden Bears, Golden Friends

Hanging at Panera with the members of my great fantastic small group.

A few years ago I was given a great honor.  When the votes were all counted, I was elected the 1982 Monroe Central Home Coming King.  Okay, so it was more than a few years ago. It was three decades ago.  In fact, the class of ’82 was honored last night during this year’s Home Coming.

Initially, I planned on attending the game and seeing some of my friends from years before.  I was really looking forward to catching up with people who were good friends in those short years of high school.  While it has been decades since we’ve been together, Facebook has connected us again over the past few years.  In truth, I was anxious to see them face-to-face once again.

But as the day of the big game grew closer, I found that my need to return to the my high school memories and friends from long ago had become harder to justify.  Don’t get me wrong, my high school friends were great people and they helped make me who I am today (good and bad).  They touched my heart.  They blessed my soul.  I can’t imagine what my life would have been without them.

But I needed to see another group of friends even more.  I needed to be with the people who engage me fully each and every day of my life.  I needed the group of people who, over the past eight years, have prayed for me when I struggled, loved me when I was not very lovely, carried me when I was weak and blessed me in ways I can never fully express.  This small group of folks have been a vital part of my life.  They have touched my heart.  They have blessed my soul.  I can’t imagine what my life would be without them.

And so I made a hard choice.  I stayed home.  I went to church.  I followed my friends to Panera and together we broke bread.  It was a good choice.

This summer, the class of ’82 will gather for their big reunion and I’ll be there to see those old, familiar faces. But tonight was about moving forward instead of looking back.  Oh, I love these people.