I have a confession to make; I HATED HIGH SCHOOL!! Not just high school but everything about it. I dreaded getting up in the morning, getting my sister ready for school, picking up whatever was leftover from my mom’s escapades from the night before, walking to school no matter what the weather because we didn’t own a car, having to walk into class with this big secret of having a horrible home life while I thought everyone else had a beautiful calm childhood, oh and just plain feeling dumber than any other classmate around. So I did what any rebellious teen did; I smoked cigarettes on the front steps of school and watched everyone walk into class and then got in a car with some friends and drove off to drink the day away; or go swimming, or just hang out with other kids who didn’t fit in either. We were called the “burnouts” but we took the name with pride because we thought we could cheat the system by going to class “JUST ENOUGH” to pass the class.
But that’s not my confession… my confession is that after doing this for 4 years I thought I HAD beaten the system and I could go on with my life and move out of my home and be on my own. It didn’t happen that way however. I was called into the principal’s office 2 weeks before graduation and told I could NOT walk with my class and had to take summer school classes since I was short on credits and then I could get my diploma. I was devastated. And mad at myself. So I did the usual thing I did when I was put in a hard situation; I put on a stiff upper lip and walked out pretending I didn’t care and decided I would make it on my own just fine without that piece of paper!
I worked at a hamburger joint while paying for rent and living with 3 other girls (and our boyfriends!) and trying to figure out what else I could do with my limited education. I finally took some night courses and learned to type and started getting office jobs so I didn’t smell like hamburgers and onions all the time. And life went on. But one day I received an envelope in the mail and it was from a class mate from high school. It had been 10 years and they were having a high school reunion! Every anxiety I ever felt about high school came flooding back to my body. I couldn’t breathe, I was shaking just thinking about seeing all those smart successful people and having to tell them about my weak little life.
Well I did go to a few of those reunions over the years and most of those classmates were really nice, but of course there were a few who turned their nose up at me, and those were the ones I remembered, not the people who always loved on me. So I never went back to any reunions because it was too painful for me. Imagine my surprise when 41 years later I get a message from one of those sweet girls contacting me and saying there was a group of them that had started getting together every few months for dinner at one of their houses so they didn’t have to want for a reunion and they wanted me to join them! My body started to shake, and I felt sick inside… but then I heard God’s voice who had been having me do things this year even if I was scared! And every time I trusted Him, I ended up feeling so good about doing something that freaks me out so much and in the end, I successfully did it!
So I called this friend and told her I would love to come! My heart was pounding hard as I got out of the car and walked up to a home I had never been to before. As I walked in I was greeted by the biggest hug and smile as if we were old friends, and it went on like that for the rest of the night! Every woman that walked through that door was genuinely happy to see me and my heart began to melt into pure love. The conversation was easy and many funny stories were told and the night flew by.
As I thanked my host at the end of the night, she walked me outside with another classmate. I told her of my fears and why. She never remembered me not walking with our class mostly because she hated high school so much that she graduated in 3 1/2 years so she could get out! I told her now I hated her because she was so smart! We laughed so hard at our childhood insecurities. Our other classmate that had walked out with us said she loved high school! We laughed again and told her it was fine if she did, we all had different experiences.
I learned this night that time sometimes does heal and growing up can be a good thing if you learn the lessons life throws at you, and most importantly keeping your heart open for healing at ANY time in your life. I’m always so grateful for my faith that I can stay open to whatever or wherever God leads me. He knows what I need in my life before I do and it keeps me growing and learning about myself and Him.
So to this I say; can’t wait to see all my new/old friends again at the next dinner party! And thanks for reaching out to that little insecure girl who really needed that healing in her heart.