Reunion Gold

My husband and I attended an “all school” reunion for his former high school this afternoon. This particular gathering honored the class of 1963, as they celebrated a half century since their high school commencement.

A Power Point presentation displayed a photo montage of their high school years, complete with selections of popular music from their teen years. What life events transpired from their graduation day till now? Careers and retirement, families and grandchildren, and many good-byes – to parents, perhaps spouses, and friends.

Fifty years have passed since they had walked those halls together, yet many said it felt as though their graduation was just yesterday, yet a lifetime of moments had accumulated for each person.

The brevity of this lifetime, the dash between one’s birth and death, and how quickly time flies by brought this passage of Scripture to mind:

Psalm 39:4-5
Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
The span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man’s life is but a breath.

Only God knows the number of our days, or the remaining days of those we love. Our life on this earth is fleeting and brief so make your moments count. Love God, love people, and let your life be one that is golden, one that enriches those it has the privilege to touch.

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Remembering Lester

I had a boyfriend in ninth grade whose name was Lester. He was a big, husky kid with a rough and tumble attitude who played a defensive position on the Jr. High Football team; academics were not his strength, and teachers warned my mother to keep an eye on her sweet, studious little girl because of her fascination with this big, bad country boy.

Neither of us was old enough to drive, so our “dates” consisted of holding hands at high school football games, dancing at school dances, and talking for hours on the phone after school. Sometimes he would phone me and play records for me to listen to. His favorite was “Baby, I need your Loving” by Johnny Rivers. Sometimes he would even sing along. At fifteen, I thought it was terribly romantic.

A little rural church held a monthly youth outreach called “Teen Club” and Lester, his cousin, my best friend and I were regular attendees. The youth pastor and his wife were achingly young, fresh out of Bible College and tried their best to connect with us, but we listened in boredom to their sermons and quickly found an excuse to escape from the church basement, board games and lemonade into the night where we could horse around under the streetlight in front of the church. We were rowdy, disinterested, and I suspect, discouraging for the young ministers.

Lester and I did not remain an item for long. We dated on and off during my freshman year, but ran in different circles for the rest of my high school time. Over the years I lost track of these people who were once so important in my life, but recently reconnected with my girlfriend from those Teen Club days. She and I both have a committed relationship now with Jesus Christ, so perhaps some of those seeds were not sown in vain. I don’t know what happened to the boys.

I heard from her last week and she sent me a copy of Lester’s obituary. The article said that he passed away, surrounded by family, in his sleep. It sounds like a long illness, perhaps cancer; the paper didn’t give any details. But it made me remember him, and those days back when I was fifteen.

Ministry has brought me in contact with many teens who remind me of my fifteen year old self. Those youth who come to events with ulterior motives, whose interest is focused on some guy or girl and who have perfected the high art of flirting are found in every church. And I think of that dedicated missionary couple, faithfully sharing the gospel with their unruly, uncaring audience.

I write this as an encouragement to those discouraged, frustrated youth workers. Keep sowing the seed; be faithful. I don’t know if Lester or his cousin ever accepted Jesus, but two of those boisterous teens did, and one grew up to be a pastor. Your job is to faithfully sow the seed; the Holy Spirit’s job is to make the seed grow. Keep sowing because you don’t know which of those seeds will sprout. You are making a difference, even if you cannot see immediate results.

Rest in peace, Lester. I hope some of those faithfully planted seeds helped you find Jesus.