Wednesday, March 12, 2008

They Sent a Carrier up from Norfolk

That line from Billy Joel's "Miami 2017" keeps going off in my head. I never did understand that song, but I've always liked it. 2017 sure was a lot further away when I first heard it in high school and HS is the topic of this post. I'll get to that in a sec.

I'm in Norfolk, VA this week, working in the shadow of those carriers. I won't say exactly where or for whom as that makes me seem much more exciting and mysterious. I can say for sure that nearly unlimited patience is required to play good poker and to work anywhere near government, any government.

I did have a very good conversation with an old friend today. First a little back story. I was the class president my junior year in high school (and not a very good one). As I understand it, it is traditionally the senior class president's job to coordinate the reunions. I can't seem to find Jim (not his real name). I've got a few more place to look, but I'm not hopeful. I've been told more than a couple times that the responsibility falls to me.

Well, I liked HS and I almost always enjoy visiting with my old classmates. I would like to see a reunion happen, however, I'm not looking for a part-time job. Planning such an occasion for a graduation class of 600 (or what's left of us) could easily overwhelm anyone.

That is where the old friend comes in. Jen, not her real name, was very involved in putting on a reunion for the HS class that is one year ahead of mine. I was hoping that she would be involved this time and could share some hints or lessons learned. She isn't involved, for reasons I'm coming to, but she did share some good advice on the subject. But as these things happen, there was so much more to be discovered and the reason for the call became eclipsed by the visit and the stores she shared.

As it turns out, Jen came home from the hospital a few days ago. She went in for 5 days and came home after 5 weeks. I don't think they keep heart/lung transplant patients for 5 weeks any more, so I knew that her case was very serious. She told me that she came very close to never coming home, though she never believed it. She told me with all the conviction in the world that she would continue to heal and then travel to all the people and places that she had put off. The thought of having to watch my wife go through something like that scares me deep.

She told me about her husband and children and job as an associate pastor. She told me about her mother passing recently and current enrollment in divinity school. It is certainly a life worth hanging on to. I tried to share some stories of hope and faith that have happened to me recently. I took away inspiration and purpose and a smile. Thanks Jen. After all that, I look so forward to hugging my wife when this trip to Norfolk is done.

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