Fifteen years is a long time. When my friend and I hugged Tuesday night, it had been 15 years since we last saw each other in person.
I have to confess when we spoke that morning and made arrangements to meet up after work, I was a little nervous. I didn’t know why, and even texted another friend to say how odd it felt to feel that way. I just couldn’t put a finger on the why right then.
Now, having spent a lovely evening chatting and catching up and gathering in couple of others to join the reunion, I know where it came from.
This 15 years has included some fairly big shifts in my life.
My friend and I had just launched a new business spinoff back then, and he was headed back to the UK to work for the parent company. I was – unbeknownst to either of us- within months of being fired by his successor. The kid was only 5. I was attending a church and kind of active, but no major responsibility.
At that moment in my life, I would never have imagined going to seminary, becoming a pastor, surviving middle school and high school then saying goodbye to the kid last Christmas.
I was nervous because my life today bears so little resemblance to my life then. My priorities, my faith, my hopes… while not 180 degrees different, they’ve definitely shifted at least a quarter turn. What might that look like from the other side? Would he understand that both lives – then and now – were and are authentic? Would he be dismissive of the work I have done to become who I am now?
Silly me… I should know by now that the people I have been close to all my life, the ones that actually care enough to reach out (or respond to me as I reach out) are the ones that got me then and get me now. They are the ones that saw beyond the surface, who knew there was more to me than the hard working employee, witty conversation partner or fiercely competitive teammate. They are the ones who heard the times I bared my heart or noticed when I dropped my guard.
So here’s to friends who actually knew me when and are around to know me now.