Walk the Talk

May 22, 2019, is another Walk of Success where our community gets the privilege of celebrating this year’s graduating class. While celebrating, many of us will also reminisce about this milestone in our own lives and marvel at what seems like the time-elapsed version of life.

When I was a teenager I remember thinking anyone over the age of 30 was a senior citizen. One time when Grandma Heflin was visiting, she saw a picture of her on our wall taken when she was 16. She looked at it, then looked at me and said, “Honey, when I look in the mirror, that’s the girl I see”.  It never occurred to me, in my self-absorbed stupor, that one day I would begin to feel the exact same way.

Fast forward lots of years. Christina and I had spent over an hour catching up at the house and picked up my then teenage daughter from a friend’s house to accompany us to our 20thclass reunion. Addison was busy ignoring us as she sat in the back seat wondering why she agreed to come to an elderly convention when it occurred to me: one day she will be doing the same thing, possibly with her own daughter. My head started spinning. Clearly I am not old enough to have a teenager…

Krista said it best: It is like picking up where we left off. What a gift to have that opportunity. We are blessed. And we are funny. And we were bad. Ok, some of us were. Not me. (As we were leaving Addison looked at me and asked, “Is the reason you are so strict because you were so bad in high school?” I had no comment.) Navigating raising a teenager for the first time made me want to send flowers to my parents. I’m sorry, mom and dad. Really, really sorry. But it was fun to grow up among such a great group of people. I hope all of my children are as fortunate.

So as I continue to put my childish ways behind me, I am careful not to lose my child-like excitement for life. Maybe it was the sugar high, but I left our reunion with a renewed sense of purpose. God puts people together. It is no coincidence that we were in the same school at the same time. When people’s lives intersect, great things can occur. When we are young we don’t yet have the ability to see the big picture, but now that we are parents, we can instill in our children the gift of each and every day. One day they, too, will be meeting with a group of adults who helped shape the people they will become.

Our childhood friends leave a legacy. Thanks to all of my friends from high school. I’m proud of the grown-ups we became. We have imprinted on each other, like fossils. Because I am me, I had to remind my kids that every interaction they have with someone could leave a lasting impression, for better or worse. I’m eternally grateful we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram when I was a kid. And I’m even more grateful for the wake-up call that told me I needed to turn my life around before my mug shot ended up forever memorialized in the archives of the local paper. If my picture is ending up anywhere, it will be on the back cover of my book. And each and every one of my friends will take a piece of the credit for helping me become the person I am today. I know it wasn’t easy…

So graduates, this week as you prepare to cross the stage and move toward what God has in store for you, know that although you’ll never be in high school with these people again, your shared history has a profound affect on who each of you are and will become. Never take that for granted – treat every day like what you say and do matters, because it does. 

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