Friday, August 10, 2012


Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Class reunions...folks I haven't seen in years and year showing up like strangers, then something happens... a turn of phrase, a characteristic gesture...and suddenly the focus shifts and I know who I'm talking too.  Yes, there have been changes, but , really, how could I not have seen that right off?

I floated around from group to group; catching them in a break in conversation or the moment when one person moved away and left a place for me to step into.  I really thought I was going to be able to talk to everyone, because the attendance was small...but after it's all over I realized there were folks there I never managed to catch, including one who apparently left before dinner.  Rats.

But there was one....

She came late, as we were finishing dinner and gnoshing on the excellent desserts that one of our classmates had created.  I saw her and her companion come in and didn't recognize either of them.  In fact, I didn't realize which one of them was our classmate until I saw her greet someone, hugging and petting as if he had been her most cherished friend.  Those of us at our table looked at each other.  "Do you recognize her?"  No one did.  It wasn't surprising; years of abuse of one kind or another had left visible evidence.  I expected her to be one of the classmates that had attended the other elementary school; nothing about her was familiar at all.

I watched her out of the corner of my eye for a while, still trying to see that clue that would tip me off as to who she was.  Nothing.

Finally, as I was chatting with folks who'd organized the event, I asked if anyone knew who she was.

They did, and my jaw hit the floor.  We'd been in class together since 4th grade. If I remember right, we'd even worked together briefly at the local ice cream shop. I remembered talking to her at the 10 - year reunion 25 years ago; she'd surprised me by being intentional about talking to me.

One of the guys in the group commented, 'Oh, but that's what reunions are for, right?  Talking to your old classmates?'

I knew that she was one person I had to speak to before I left.

And it was just before we left.  Standing in the hall, knowing it was time to go but not feeling quite like I could yet, she walked by and I said her name.  She turned and looked at me, then saw the name tag and exclaimed, "Oh!  I was hoping to run into you!"  I got the embrace, the hair petting, the kiss on the cheek. 'Oh,  God is so good!' she told me.  Then she launched into an apology for the person she'd been in high school.  As she talked, I looked closely, still trying to see a shred of the cute gal she'd been.  A bit of something about her eyes was all I could perceive; it might've been a mask she was wearing for all I could see that looked familiar.    If she had been intentionally parodying Jack Sparrow,  it might've been funny, but the speech patterns, the memory lapses and the fidgeting all told me she wasn't playing.  My heart broke for her.

And her apology was earnest, almost desperate.  In truth, I couldn't remember her doing anything worse than following the crowd, but I knew the power of forgiveness.  And I held nothing against her; I could look her in the eye and say with all honesty, "I forgive you."

She repeated how glad she was to see me. 'I think about you all the time,' she said. 'I have dreams about you."

We really had not had that much interaction in high school.  In elementary, yes, because we were all in one classroom, but after that...we went into separate tracks.  Why I was important to her...I have no idea.

It occurred to me that she could very well be saying the same things to everyone she talked to that night.  And being as truthful as she could. She was trying to exorcise something that was tormenting her.

But the pain, the horror of whatever she'd walked through since I last saw her was so clear that, I'll be honest, the altar worker training kicked in.  What do you do with pain like that?  You take it to God.

And she had already mentioned God.  That she felt God had connected us.

I consciously decided not to listen to the voice that hollered 'You're at a class reunion!  Not church!  That's crazy!' and said..."Let me pray for you."

I got about 3 sentences in, simply asking God to wrap His arms around her and remind her of how much He loves her, and she stopped me.  "No!" she said, tears slipping out of her eyes. "I'm not worthy of your don't know...I'm not's been so hard...I'm so tired..."  then she shook herself, wiped her face and said, 'Come on!  Let's celebrate!'

She pulled me back into the party room, to the dance floor.  The band was good...loud, but good...and she wanted to dance.  I tried.  For her sake.  I couldn't brush her off.  But I'm no boogie dancer.  I tried to laugh it off, but I felt very awkward.  After a couple of minutes, she leaned over and said, 'I think I've apologized to about a thousand people tonight.'

I looked at her and answered for myself, at least. 'It's ok.  Really. It's ok.'

And she hugged me once more, 'I love you!' she said... and flitted off to another classmate.

And suddenly I felt cleared to go home.  My Sweet Baboo, who only knew a couple of my classmates because they'd gone to college together (one of whom had introduced us), was waiting patiently in the hallway, and it was pushing towards midnight.

As we left, we passed her companion, smoking a cigarette in the parking lot.  He asked us what time it was, and we told him.  "Oh, I gotta go get my girlfriend," he said, stomping his smoke and heading back in.  God, I thought, protect her.

I hadn't thought of her in years; now daily I'm asking the Father to bring her deliverance and peace and healing. To restore the years the locust has eaten. To assure her that 'worthy' doesn't matter.  She is loved.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I am actually going to my 20th class reunion tomorrow. I am so nervous about possibly being faced with the demons of my past, but I know God wanted me to come and face them, so I can not only forgive them to their faces, but also so that I may continue to grow in Him!