Filling in the Colors

Past meets Present
Originally uploaded by simplyred4x4.
For all the hip-ness that is Facebook, I have a confession to make. I’ve been “on” it for over a year – which sounds more like an antidepressant or medical treatment. And, strangely enough, a year makes me old school… or so I’ve been told. During the past month or so, though, I’ve had a rather odd experience with it. My past has filled in.

It’s not so much that I had huge memory gaps, or years of blankness. It’s more like I am slowly hearing the rest of the story for all the individuals that make up my past. It’s akin to that moment at the end of a film when you are told what becomes of each character, where their life went after the events, which you just witnessed, and you find out if your favorite got what he or she wanted.

How has such an epilogue been written in my life? It’s because all these old names from my childhood have found me on Facebook. In a very real sense I can’t say I know what each of these friends is like, who they really are but I do get the briefest bit of update as to what happened after we parted ways. The stranger affect is how reconnecting with these people has stirred up memories; moments experienced with them, conversations we might have had regarding the future (which is now the past), confirmed suspicions or complete out-of-left-field surprises. Stuff that might only happen at a high school reunion, if I ever went to any.

One instance of this has been with a unique set of friends. They are twins, this brother and sister. We never lived in the same state, even. They lived next door to my Grandparents - mom’s mom and dad. When we would visit, their family and my family would play together. My memories of those times look like something out of Our Gang, with us toying around the neighborhood, watching magic shows and matinees, playing in the woods nearby, being chased by dogs… the only thing missing is Alfalfa and Buckwheat. I know these memories might be more imagined than actual, but they are as real to me as when they somewhat happened.

As time past, my grandparents died and after a few times of these friends coming to our town and visa versa (maybe once), and my family falling apart soon thereafter, I lost touch. Twenty-two years of life passed by and then Facebook… a concept that would never have entered our minds during those Reagan Years.

The first week after we reconnected I found myself contemplating how varied and interesting each of our stories must be. One has survived one of the more deadly forms of breast cancer and has three kids. The other has lived a life that most people only read about in adventure or spy novels. I imagine us as those giggling kids so long ago sitting around talking about what we will do with our lives and never would we have written this script. When you are 10, you don’t think that you will have to make a choice on how to live through Breast Cancer, or that you will travel the world over only to return to your hometown, that years later we would discuss where God plays or doesn’t seem to play in our tragedies and glories. When we were young we didn’t look at each other and consider how much heartache and transformation will take place in “growing up.” And it’s a grace that we had no clue… otherwise we might never move forward.

I am still adjusting to the surprises that have come through it all. In one sense it truly is as if the colors are being filled in on some old faded pictures in my mind. In another, I am convinced more and more that we never lose our past, that we never know when stories will cross paths again and create new memories. The cliché of clichés is to simply say, “Sure is a small world.” And that would be a shame. It’s not that the world is small, because it is far grander than we can conceive. It’s that Life is much more of an adventure shared than an isolation endured, and even at my age now, it seems to have only just begun…