This past weekend, I found myself at a pub in the town I grew up in, with a childhood friend I hadn’t seen or spoken to in probably 17 years. My mom ran into Derek at the gym a few weeks ago. He recognized her, asked if she was Lorrie Hinkleman, and introduced himself as an old friend of mine. Upon hearing this story, I quickly looked Derek up on Facebook and found his contact. We bantered lightly back and forth, and as is customary on Facebook when coming across an old ‘friend’, the obligatory “let’s get together some time” comment was thrown out. But this time, as my personal approach to connection continues to evolve, I made an intentional invitation to Derek to meet up next time I either of us were in each others’ towns…he willingly accepted.
Over the course of a few pints, we shared our stories. We knew quite well our stories up to 18 years of age, but walked down different paths after high school. We reminisced about our days playing hockey together, video games, girls and parties. Slowly meandered through our college years and into the early professional days. Both married and fathers now, we shared sentiments about the beauty and challenges involved. How life is vastly different, but that we wouldn’t change anything. Quips of triumph and sorrow batted between us with the power and grace of evenly matched tennis players. It was life. It was simply great.
Then Derek said something that resonated with me. He said, “This is great. If I’m being honest, I don’t know or have any friends from my past.” I immediately remembered my mom telling me that it was next to impossible to keep friends from your childhood. Life evolves and people change. I still remain connected with a handful of mates from my youth. This encounter gives me hope that reconnecting with people is possible. It reaffirms the notion that it doesn’t take much to get people started. It proves that everyone’s story is equally real and equally important.
It turns out that an old friend and I, Derek, separated by distance, life paths and 17 years, have a great deal in common. Of course we do. We are human. But beyond that, we’ve committed to being different. Instead of perpetuating the myth that reconnecting with your past isn’t possible or that we are simply too busy to do it for various reasons, we are going to continue nurture this friendship, this reconnection. We let it be born back into a significant connection. Something we all inherently seek. Something we all inherently need. The lesson here for me is this: reconnection is just as beautiful as a connection at its genesis.
Be well friends…
2 responses to “Reconnecting is just as beautiful…”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Great seeing you, old friend. Be well and I’ll see you soon.
absolutely gorgeous piece. Felt like I was sitting there with y’all.
“Quips of triumph and sorrow batted between us with the power and grace of evenly matched tennis players.” << amazing line!!!
"This encounter gives me hope that reconnecting with people is possible. It reaffirms the notion that it doesn’t take much to get people started. It proves that everyone’s story is equally real and equally important."
You captured a great deal in just a few paragraphs… 🙂
Personally, I've also found it hard to keep up with past friends, but still have somehow managed. My best friend from HS (Anastasia) and I still always hang out when I go back home… she has kids and a husband, which I don't, and I always learn so much going there about family and marraige. I've also kept up with teachers–like Parthena, my old English teacher from grade school, who was one of the first to really encourage my writing voice. And recently, I reunited with my favorite high school history, Tom Funk (yes, his real name!), who now runs a charming little "Antiquary" in Cocoa Beach. When I visited him there, we sipped Scotch together, which felt quite unreal given that our previous exchanges has all been with me as a minor!
It has taken intentional effort, but something in me has always pushed to honor and nurture those relationships–it's so fascinating to walk along the thread of life beside someone, and to see how things evolve.
Also, I've been able to keep in touch with actual droves of my childhood classmates and friends because I grew up in a VERY close-knit community that was bound by spiritual practice and living arrangements–an interfaith ashram school. I lost touch with them all for years and only reconnected 10 years after leaving the school at age 13–when I re-met everyone, it was TRULY unreal but has now become one of the highlights of my return trips home… the "Kashi Kids" parties and one-on-one hangouts.
(this is the community: http://www.kashi.org/ )
This makes me wonder, how might our efforts to build tight community on a neighborhood or other kind of level could aid future generations to maintain these precious ties more easily and enjoy this similar kind of rich and evolving "mutual-delight"?
Can't wait to reconnect with YOU in Toronto, my eloquent friend!
(lol I can't seem to keep blog comments short either…!!!)