Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Contact

For the first time in years, I had contact with some people from college.

I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, since I have had extremely sporadic and limited communication with a couple of them over the eight years since I graduated college. But by sporadic, I mean less than 10 emails.

Alethia got married!

I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I wanted, but even if I would have tried, they probably wouldn’t have turned out. The lighting wasn’t conducive to photography during the wedding.

As I sat in the sanctuary, looking at the back of Alethia’s head, I remembered my life when I knew her. In fact, I journaled back then (the real journaling, where no one reads what you’ve journaled but you), and I recently looked up some of my thoughts from way back then. What a mystical place that portion of my past is! The most painful hurts, and the most joyous realizations happened to me during the time I knew Alethia. Back then, we cried on each other’s shoulder, we laughed at and with each other. She was a good friend – imperfect, human, and raw. I loved her for it.

But as I sat on that bench in the sanctuary, watching the back of her head, I realized that I don’t know her anymore. Not that it is a bad thing, since life sometimes takes people away from you, but I mourned the years I’ve been disconnected from this person.

Then I realized that behind me sat three other people that I spent time with in college. Jessica, Stacy, and Amy. What amazing, beautiful people. I mourned the time I spent disconnected from them, too.

But it wasn’t the first time I mourned. When I was younger I was a self-righteous fool. I thought that leaving behind people you loved, cared for, and who (at least seemingly) cared for you was a sign of strength. It was a sign of internal fortitude and spiritual reliance on God. I thought it made me more healthy to dispense with relationships – even good ones.

I was wrong. And as life and God taught me the real importance of relationships, I learned I could grieve over the loss of my friends - over the complete and total divorce from my past that I had inflicted upon myself. When I could find time and room to feel safe, I cried over the bridges I had let rot. I cried the deep cry of the despondent, and I felt for the first time the kind of loss so many of the Psalms convey. A lot of my personal theology was forged during this time.

After the wedding, we all went to the reception. I got to sit with Stacy, Amy, and Jessica. I felt like I was sitting at the cool kids’ table. I got to see Amy’s beautiful daughter Sadie, and catch up on the path their life is taking as they surrender to being full-time ministers. I got to catch up with Jessica, her thoughts about education, and her long-term goals to teach. I got to hear about Stacy’s path after college, her time in Lake Charles and the move to Monroe. It was all positively riveting. Every moment was healing as I got the chance of a lifetime to build new bridges.


My guess is that it will be at least a decade before I see any of them again. But this time I got contact information, and said goodbye in such a way that I can still relate to them. The (re)creation of my blog is an attempt to stay in contact with their world.


So, to Alethia, Amy, Jessica, and Stacy – this entry is for you. Here’s to the memories, both old ones, current ones, and ones yet to come.

15 comments:

Stacy said...

so glad you gave in to the Christian coaxing and entered the blog world! had a great time laughing and catching up this weekend. so when are you gonna post pics of your family? no blog is complete without pics of a cute kid especially if you have your own...

Jessica said...

why do you people insist on placing horrid pictures of me on your blogs?

i didn't get much sleep last night. i thought of your consolation statement, and it made me feel slightly better...

elly said...

Ben - loved reading your thoughts, so open & honest! Glad you've joined the group - will add you to my evergrowing link list - now let's see this daughter of yours - belive me - if I think Sadie is cuter than my Ally - she must be something - check out my Ally and all my other cutiepies on my site! Where are you now?

elly said...

Ben - loved reading your thoughts, so open & honest! Glad you've joined the group - will add you to my evergrowing link list - now let's see this daughter of yours - belive me - if I think Sadie is cuter than my Ally - she must be something - check out my Ally and all my other cutiepies on my site! Where are you now?

elly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
elly said...

Sorry - that was me - I hate it when it comments twice!

Kim Berry said...

You're alive! Cool.

(I would leave a profound comment, but I exhausted all mental depth just reading your blog. It's way way over my head.)

Glad you are alive.

Amy said...

YAY A BEN BLOG!!!!!!!!! Happy days are ahead because we get to dive into the scull of Ben Rhodes and dig around. It should be fun. Ben, your blog about the trip made me cry.

Benjamin said...

Wow! Elly, Kim and Amy all in one set of comments!

Elly: I' live in Minneapolis, MN these days. I didn't think I would, but I really like it here. I see you're in NC now - what took you there?

Kim: I am indeed alive. Though there were a couple of close calls. Sorry to hear my blog is wearing you out. DON'T, I repeat, DO NOT read the next entry. It might hospitalize you. And I would hate for that to happen.

I should probably come up with some lighter topics the next few blogs...

Amy: Good to hear from you. You're crazy MD friend ratted me out. Oh, well.

Benjamin said...

Okay, now I feel ashamed that I used "you're" instead of "your" in the previous comment.

Why can't we stinking edit these things?

Stacy said...

i didn't rat you out dude. after all you linked to my blog before i linked to yours...and if you really want to be anal you can copy your comment and post a new one with the corrected word. then just delete the original comment. not that i've ever done that...

lorri said...

amy spelt skull wrong. ben, see stacy's blog spot for the beautiful sentiment i wrote about you. not nearly as beautiful as your blog spot. i hope it won't be a decade before we see each other considering we only have approx 220 miles between us.

AngJoyB said...

KimBerry... I remember staying at her family's home and eating spaghetti with Pear Perserves... Anyone else?

Jessica said...

lorri spelled "spelled" wrong, too. state spelling bee competitor reporting for duty, sir!

lorri said...

jess, isn't mine just bad english?