My friend posted a picture of when we were young and in college. I had not seen the picture before. After a while when you see pictures of your former because you see them so much you just pass them buy more quickly. Not so with this one.
My friend put it up as a way to honor the birthday of our mutual friend that died at the end of this winter. Nice. It was also a bit surprising because it was new to me yet it was old to me at the same time.
Lots of questions and comments came skittering out in my brain and some thoughts just floated out. I noticed that we have matching shirts. Since I don’t ever buy shirts of any team or crew it was funny to think that once I did that. That shirt was a thick soft material and fit so comfortably. I think it might have said Concordia on the back or maybe not, but I am pretty sure that we bought them at the college store as they are the school colors.
I was surprised to see me in the center of a picture with that group as I rarely felt centered there and more as a tag along. I was fine with that as these people and the rest of the group not pictured were fun and more fun. They all have so much talent that it was amazing. I was happy to just be with them, but who took that picture?
I am still friends with all but one of these people in the picture and am happy about that. I look at one of them now gone to hang with Jesus and her passing woke me up more than the usual seasonal jumps in age. We are not ever too young to die, but yet I feel that. I miss knowing she is in the world. I wouldn’t want her back because she was so sick, but she is missed as it is rightly felt.
Two of the others are kind and good and hang out in my peripheral parts of my life, but have anchors in the core. I never see them, but we keep up on social media, one of them more so now with the death of our friend. One has really been helpful with a spiritual shift I have had in the past 2 years. One’s energy was never something I was comfortable with and I broke that connection off lots of years ago because it was toxic to me. I didn’t feel accepted and more tolerated. I get that this is my perspective and not hers. It is what I have always felt. I stopped that for myself and am glad of it, but this picture just dragged that up again. I am grateful as the picture is pretty glorious.
We are young here. We ate and drank like there was not an end to food or beverage. We were fun and had so much fun. For me it was hard to leave that life when we graduated. Hard to leave those people. It was a total shift for anything I ever had known. 600 miles away from home with only a weekly call back on a pay phone. Didn’t know one single person when I arrive and was in a little family when I graduated. I knew at the time it was a short time and we lived like there was no tomorrow although if you asked any of us at that time we had lists of things that we needed to get accomplished on a daily and semester basis. Racing, racing, racing just to have it bring me to an entire new life. We knew it was coming too, but just like anything in the future, you don’t know until you know.
I look at those faces and all I want to do it hug their necks. I can still see the now me in there somewhere. I see my head tilts the same and I am happy, just like now.