Tonight is our 40th High School Class Reunion. I realize that by admitting that I’m also admitting my age. Oh, well. Times like these make me thoughtful and reflective of my life; of things past that with a single prompt become a flood of once-buried memories.
David just came downstairs with his Southport High School Anchor 1974 Yearbook. He opened it to the back, to the page I had signed and what I wrote to him in the spring of 1974. He made me read it out loud to him as we ate breakfast. Keep in mind, we were only friends. Well, not “only.” He kissed me once in high school. Only once. We had a sweet and significant friendship. But we never really dated in high school.
Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:
Well, David, we’ve come a long way from 9th grade Christmas dances to serious walks in the park and a real understanding of each other. Our closeness is different, you know. It’s kind of a mutual smile that means I care and a kind of feeling you get when love is near. You know you’re the one person I’m not worried about not seeing after school is out. I feel like our togetherness is for eternity."
"Maybe I should be more realistic, but I don’t want to ever be without you. I need you. I guess I can feel like since we’re both going to IU, we will still have each other. But what’s after that? I can feel dependent and confident with you around. I hope I give you the same feeling of security. Dave Lee, remember band, Garfield Park, Pizza’s, orchestra, the dance, being at my home talking, and memories like that. What I remember more, though, is your face; especially your smile."
"I don’t feel like I’m saying what I want to say. Maybe that’s another thing about close friends. They can’t really say what they feel. So how’s this: My thoughts are with you. My thoughts are deep and close and loving and warm and tender when you’re in my head and you’re in my head a lot. Did you know that? You’re smile, I’ll remember always."
"Take care, my friend. Remember, the Lord is coming.
Love in Christ, Beth Ann McLaughlin"
When I read these words out loud, David called them “prescient.” They read to me like foreshadowing; as though God, through the experience of me grappling with words to express my feelings, was telling me something I knew in my heart—but didn’t know. I read them today with amazement and gratitude for God’s overwhelming grace in our marriage; in David and me finding one another, choosing one another, and continuing to choose and prefer each other for more than 35 years. God’s grace is the only word that explains what we’ve had together.
As we celebrate with old friends and a few current friends tonight, I have a mixture of nervousness and eager anticipation. I hope and pray for meaningful connections with people who were part of such a formative time in my life. I pray for moments of Llight like this one.
And by the way, I should add what I wrote as a P.S. in David’s Yearbook: “In case of rapture, see you up there!! Maranatha!” A signature obviously influenced by Hal Lindsey—a big sensation in those days :).