the hottie you dated all four years of school and broke up with and dated and broke up with and it would have kept up like that for the rest of your life if one of you hadn’t graduated and moved to italy. the roommate who always had someone sleeping over (awkward!) but who came down to the police station to bail you out for that unfortunate incident and so you didn’t have to tell your parents. everybody from your soccer team, the choir, the band you started in the basement of the hardware store. you knew their names, their favorite beer, and whether it was wise to copy their homework. before facebook, these people disappeared until the tenth reunion and then it was a competition as to who was fatter and who had a better job.*
some people you went to school with are now part of your friends list but they aren’t the same people you would have put on the friends list at the time.
i’m not sure which one made the friendship request but mike coglan (f2fb #137) and i were in the same graduating class at north central college. the entire student body was less than a thousand so i figured i had to know him. i was pretty sure he was the dude who sat behind me in economics for three semesters. on facebook, we exchanged a few stories of the good old days, compared notes on what we had been doing for the past twenty five years–mike is a minister in kearney, missouri and i raise my sons and write books in winnetka, illinois–and then we got down to business–
online scrabble. i’m addicted. mike’s better than me.
at one point, mike mentioned that the economy was heading south, fast, in kearney. a lot of his parishioners were hurting. i suggested help in the only way i know how–what if i wrote an arcadia publishing company history of kearney and mike’s congregation sold the books as a fundraiser?
three short weeks later, i drove eight hours to kearney with my assistant f2fb #20 charlie seymour. at kearney’s rotary club i spoke about the book and about how i was looking for help from the community to find old photographs, documents, papers that would help me develop a complete picture of the town. charlie sat in the back taking notes and leaned over to mike.
“what was arlynn like when you two were in college?” charlie asked.
“i have no idea,” mike said. “i don’t remember her at all.”
i was ready to pack my bags that night! we finished the book**.
mike and his family opened themselves up to me. mike and i still play scrabble. he also talks to me about his relationship with God and my relationship with God. if someone were to ask me where i go to church i would most likely say that my congregation is the kearney covenant church and that i don’t go to services often, which is to say i have only been once.
but mike and his wife laura (f2fb #138) prayed and talked with me one morning this week. laura asked me to consider how i would feel if one of my children–joseph or eastman–came to me and said “i want your love, i have you say you love me, but i feel i am unworthy of your love”. wouldn’t i feel such pain for them? when i thought about that, i started to cry and so did she. mike made himself busy with finding tissue paper and said that under no circumstances was he crying too. God’s love is a gift and it hurts Him to have someone not think themselves worthy of taking it. thi
as i got ready to leave the coglans, the entire family–mike, laura, ian, and brenna–had me sit down. each of them put their hands on me and each of them made an individual prayer for my safety, health, happiness, and progress on this year’s journey. four distinct prayers that i might be BOLD and unafraid. that i would take the chances i have spent so many years being afraid to take. and they asked for God’s PROTECTION that i might be safe and confident of my safety.
when i got into the car i felt transformed. and i had only one last thing to finish up in kearney before i could clear out–i had to get deputized by the fire chief. after all, i have a lot of talents to offer this town!
*romy and michele’s high school reunion is such a great movie! i think i have to get it on netflix right now!