What Do You Say When Lost Friends and Time Reconnect?
By Deborah Blackwell
At the end of a college financial aid appointment that made me feel like I needed security clearance so my kid could attend, there was a ray of light.
I had just spent three hours filling out paperwork and proving my identity, and although I went to the appointment looking my semi-best, I was frazzled. As I stood in the hallway with the registrar discussing the need for a mid-day cocktail after jumping through all her hoops, someone walked by who looked familiar. We locked eyes.
“Deborah?” she said.
“Leah?” I said.
After a few seconds, the hugging commenced. We were friends, but lost touch more than ten years ago, when our lives went in different directions.
What do you say when you run into people after years of no contact? Do you hit the highlights now and leave the low points out maybe forever? Do you spit-shine your story and polish up your past? Or do you just smile and say nothing at all?
Lots of life happens as time moves on, and you never know who will cross your path at any point, or how they now may be.
When we lose touch with people we liked, we usually just assume their life now is like it was then, and they lived happily ever after. Especially if our life is nothing like it was when we knew them. It’s the perception that other people are happier than we are, the “grass is always greener” mentality.
But in the few minutes my former friend and I chatted, I learned, like mine, her life had some terrible dark twists and turns. It was almost a relief. What surprised me, is how much grace she showed in spite of it. And she didn’t even look like she'd aged.
My inner dialogue took over. Wow she looks great, she must think I look horrible. Will she want to reconnect after losing touch all these years? Does she think my life is a fail? Does she even really like me or is she just being nice?
I didn’t have reason to worry about anything, because life is what it is and we are who we are. I knew I showed just as much grace as she did, and I never judge time for naturally progressing.
The real question was, is it possible to accept my life then and now, with the intention it will just get better?
That’s what we all want – to have our life be better now, every day better, especially when we have endured hard times. But first we have to be ok with who we are, where we have been, and where we intend to go.
We will meet and re-meet people along the way, and want to be accepted, feel connected, and fulfilled.
But essentially, we already are. Leah and I knew each other from a different time in our lives, but we remembered our friendship, our connection. It turns out, it didn’t matter what I said or didn’t say in the hallway. Whether we go forward together in this new time, might not matter either.
Sometimes without knowing, we impact each other, even in the briefest encounter. And that moment can make all the difference.