A view from my side.
January 2, 2012. A new year has arrived. As I reflect back on the recent past and look forward to the near future, I know many changes are in order. Many of them anticipated, of course. Many of them will blind side me. Some good, some bad, but all in all, they make up this thing called life.
In the last few weeks, I have reconnected with a few people. I visited Rance and Robert over my birthday in Atlanta. Rance was my college roommate back in 1978 and he and I spent a lot of time together, growing up and coming of age in a time of gas rationing, nuclear proliferation and economic/political turmoil. Of course, what did we care at the time, we were worried about ourselves, focused on who we were to become and the course our lives were going to take. A good friend over the years, we lost touch a few years later as we both left the Dallas area, moving on with our lives. It was nice to spend time with him again. True friends are people you can simply pick up where you left off with and go on.
A week later, I met up with an old high school buddy, Alex. I had not seen him since 1978 when he was but 16 years old. We had been in student government together at the time, me a senior and him a sophomore. He had won the school’s Vice Presidency and was the only member of the student government that didn’t drive. It presented an interesting set of scheduling problems (Alex didn’t have his driver’s license yet), but I picked him up and drove him to/from our various events most of the time. We got to know each other driving to this or that meeting over the year. I remember thinking he was a nice kid and would grow up to be someone who would make a difference in people’s lives.
Meeting him, his wife and their child in Louisville proved me right. He’s an attorney who helps people with disability issues. He fights for those that can’t fight for themselves. He also volunteers time to work on causes that, while sometimes unpopular, are the “right cause” to fight for. In this light, he hasn’t changed a bit from 33 years ago. He is doing what everyone thought he would be. Fighting the good fight, helping those in need, and asking nothing in return for himself. Sure, he makes a living and lives comfortably enough, but Alex is not the flashy, trendy, showy type. He is simple and humble, but self-assured with a firm grasp of right and wrong.
Sometimes reconnecting with people makes you yearn for years past. Sometimes it makes you wish you had not lost touch. Sometimes it makes you hope for more frequent future contact. For me, reconnecting with these two gentlemen has simply renewed my belief in the power of people to make a difference. Both Rance and Alex are true to themselves and to their significant others. They stand firm in what they believe and they are not afraid to influence those around them. They are both men I admire for their integrity and their perseverance.
I am glad I was able to reconnect with you two. I hope it won’t be another 30 ish years before we meet up again.