"A person's life can be compared quite nicely to the four seasons of the year. This blog is from someone in the Winter of Life enjoying the fruits of his "Summer and Fall" and looking forward to assisting the growth and nourishment for the next generation.

My Father and Grandfather passed on their wisdom through their actions and their stories. This is probably be the most impactful way to pass on wisdom. But the written word can have an affect on lives that extends beyond the memories of a couple of generations. This blog is an attempt to reflection on my life experiences and pass these reflections to future generations of my own family as well as any others who might come across these pages.

Wednesday, May 26

You Never Know!

High school class reunions are ____ (you fill in the blank) For me, recently I had my 50th high school class reunion and I had a blast! I was apprehensive about the reunion when I signed up to come several months ago. As the time drew closer, my apprehension grew by leaps and bounds.

I was going to meet people I had not seen in 50 years. Obviously I would not recognize them and properly would even forget their names. Talk about embarrassment! Imagine walking up to someone, looking at their name tag and then saying something stupid like, “Oh yeah, I remember you”. And that’s with the guy’s, imagine how that sounds when glancing down at a woman’s breast!

Fortunately, my apprehension was misplaced. Sure, faces and bodies change but the names came back immediately. The pleasant memories returned and the not so pleasant memories stayed in the background. We hugged and shook hands and slapped each other on the back. Conversations began with, “How are you? What are you doing now? What did you do before you retired?” We really didn’t care what the answers were, we just wanted to talk to old friends and laugh once again. I had one of the major self esteem boosts in my life. Two ladies approached me and confessed they had had a crush on me during our high school days. Talk about grinning from ear to ear!

A bit of wisdom came from this weekend along with the fun. We make a serious mistake in judging people when they are in the beginning stages of adulthood, i.e. late teens. The homely girl became beautiful; the bumbling boy heads a multi million dollar enterprise. The least popular came out of their shells; the confident athletic has found life to be humbling. To be sure, there were those we expected to succeed who did as expected.

I came away regretting I had not paid more attention to my classmates when I had a chance. Some I ignored went on to lead interesting and productive lives. Some I didn’t pay attention to in class or in the hallways or at lunch are ones with whom I wish I could spend more time. Who knew we would have a city councilman, a college president, a professional football player, a major land holder, a sheriff, a gospel quartet lead singer, a preacher/evangelist, and so on. Who knew we would have some fellow students in rather ordinary occupations but who were not defined by those occupations but were defined by their quality of life and the joy it brought them.

The saddest regret was with those classmates who did not have a chance to live the lives they had planned. I remember the first death in our class. Judy had gone to a small college and become a cheerleader. She was having a great college experience. On a road trip to a football game, the driver lost control of the car and Judy was killed. What a waste of a beautiful person with tremendous potential. We lost about 20% of our classmates to disease, accidents, war and other causes. We were never to know how their lives would have turned out.

The point is quite simple, we never know! We never know how someone will develop positively or negatively. We never know how their life will change, the decisions they will make, the lives they will live. We never know how long they will be with us. If we want to truly have a high quality of life, it is a mistake to pre-judge or ignore our life contacts. Embrace all those with whom you encounter. You may be embracing them for the last time or you may be embracing a President; you never know.

The bit of wisdom; don’t be too hasty to dispose of the lump of coal in your hand, it may contain a beautiful diamond waiting to be found and polished.

That’s my “View From the Fall”

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