Fusion: the act or procedure of melting together by heat; the merging of different elements into a union.
Saturday evening I helped celebrate yet another high school friend's forty-ninth birthday. It was actually in June, but Leslie has been too busy traveling (see the photo of the storm cloud at O'Hare Airport in Chicago...) and this was the earliest we could all get together. It was a small crowd - everyone is just too busy and summer is tough, anyway - but those of us that were able to meet at Darla's beautiful home had a lot of fun eating, drinking, swimming, remembering and laughing.
(Top photo, left to right: Vickie, Darla, Todd, Leslie (birthday girl), and me. Bottom photo: Donna and Vickie - this is the first get-together since the reunion in October that they've been able to attend, and it was great getting to spend more time with them.)
The funny thing is...for the most part, I don't think any of us were really close friends when we were in high school. We were friends - I've known Todd and Darla since elementary school, and we hung out some in junior high and high school; Vickie and Donna grew up on the same street. But, except for some mutual friends, we mostly ran in different groups and had different interests. In our defense, we had around five hundred people in our class, which made it hard to know everyone. But the groups in our class didn't have clearcut lines or labels (e.g. athletes, druggies, partiers, academic brainiacs, cheerleaders, drama, band etc.) - people crossed "lines" and no one thought anything of it. It wasn't until after high school, that I became close to Leslie and Darla (initially through working on reunions and mutual friends), and better friends with Todd.
The cool thing is...is doesn't matter. Our get-togethers now aren't about re-living our high school days, but about celebrating and strengthening friendships.
Our class is unusual - we've had reunions every five years. After our thirtieth last October, we decided five years was too long to wait; we've tried to have these get-togethers every few months since then. We also email each other for support, prayer, encouragement, and congratulations. The superficial layers that separated us in high school have been stripped away, and we are able to see and appreciate our true selves, refined by time and experience.
We're all connected to the same time and place: no one else shares those particular memories of events that shaped who we are today. Like magnets, they pull us together. Like glue, they hold us together. Over time, we're drawing ever closer...fusing...becoming a family.