Recently I was sorting through some clothes so that I might donate some to a yard sale fundraiser our church was doing. Now I'm a rational man, but I oddly find that I have to do this at least three times before any yard sale. Often I think I should hang on to an item, only to later rethink it... mainly because I ask my wife to help me the third time.
We all need people to help us rethink our conclusions about what matters.
It was interesting, actually... I would hold up a shirt and we'd both decide if it was worth hanging on to based on the "look" and "era" it mentally and emotionally brought us into. For instance, I haven't regularly worn suits since my early days in professional ministry - so there really wasn't any point hanging on to the JC Penny blue pinstripe or the Chess King puke green number.
"Pittsford and Pioneer Faith stuff," we'd say, referencing the churches I wore them in. They easily landed in the donation pile.
Then there are these polo shirts that I wore when I served in a larger church. This was in my latter days as a youth pastor when I needed to be "approachable" by teens and yet "professional" enough that the adults felt good paying me.
"This looks like a First Wes shirt," we'd summarize. "Old school."
And so on.
It's odd how a thing can connect you to a feeling.
As another example, I recently saw yet another old school chum on Facebook that I used to have a tight relationship with as a kid. Then junior high made us walk down separate hallways, and after that high school kept the snowball of separation going. By the time we'd reached senior year we finally had our first class together, only to find that the friendship had somehow fallen to the side - so we settled for chosen ignorance across the room.
That's so wild, especially when you consider all the sleepovers we did growing up.
So we connected, and he asked if I was "Tony Myles that also went to Dooley School and lived off of Braintree?"
I was, and I volleyed back, "Yes - that Tony Myles whose finger you bit in second grade when I asked you for your apple during lunch. But who's holding any grudges?"
He went on to say that he drives by my old house everyday, and oddly happened to buy our old lunch mother's house. "I don't recall biting your finger, sorry about," he said. "I do, however, remember your parents taking us to a Bulls game and also, I remember the class having a picnic by Boch and it started to rain. We all ran to your house. Remember that?"
After sensing those old school feelings and thoughts as I stared at his picture and considered our fading friendship, this is what I wrote:
The more I consider stuff like this, the more I hope I'm talking with people today the way I should be talking with them today. That even if we geographically are separated, we lose nothing.
You bought the old lunch mother's house, huh? Mrs Sowka? (That's the only one I remember - because she taught me what the middle finger meant one day during recess.)
Speaking of fingers... no worries.
I remember that day - Mr Acardi's class for me. We all ran into my house and suddenly there stood many kids in front of my dad's velvet paint of a topless hula girl. Actually, my mom remembers that part... I remember everyone playing with my GI Joe and Star Wars toys.
Weird timing for us to connect. I was recently looking through my senior year book and found something you wrote. It was after we were in a writing class I believe... you said something like, "Weird how we didn't talk much this year." And I remember that was weird, too, since we were pretty tight growing up.
So I'm sorry that happened.
My wife asked me just today if I go back to high school for a week if I would. I said, "Yeah, as long as nothing changes in my life today." (I've seen too much sci-fi) She asked what I would do differently if I could retain all that I know now. I said, "I think I'd try a few things I didn't try - like maybe a sport or a play - just for the experience. But I think the big thing would be that I would talk with people differently, because the things that seemed to be such a big deal then really weren't, and I'd know that. Yeah, I'd talk with people differently."
Lest our relationship get pitched aside like an old suit that somehow feels dated.
Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.' "
Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town. (1 Samuel 20:42)