One of the consequences of Facebook and other social media, and the internet in general, is the ability to connect up with people from one’s past in a way that wasn’t easy before. Some (many) are skeptical of the value of that, believing that if one has spent years without any contact with someone from the past, there is little reason to believe one would want to have contact now.
That has not been my experience. Both Facebook and e-mail have allowed me to connect back up with people who once had a place in my life in a way that has caused me real joy (and, in at least one case, has even allowed some healing of a hurt I had experienced many years ago).
Most of the time, my contact with people I have reconnected with from the past has remained electronic – e-mails and FB chats mostly. But yesterday, I had the incredible pleasure of spending time with two different people I hadn’t seen in over three decades, one for breakfast and the other for dinner. Again, I konw some people who think that is not a good idea, thinking it would be too strange or awkward to spend time with someone from the past. And again, that was not how I found it.
Both were truly wonderful experiences, albeit in very different ways, and I so much enjoyed the conversations and time together. I won’t say that in either case I could see anything of the teenage boys I knew years ago in the 50+ year old men I spent time with yesterday, but I could feel something of those boys, in the same way I could feel a piece of my own teenaged self revealed. And it was sweet.
I don’t know how long it will be before I see either again – Harry joked in an e-mail later in the day yesterday that he has calendared our next breakfast for 35 years hence (I’m hoping it is not that long!) and Will and I both travel enough that being in the same city at any given time is pretty much hit or miss. But, however long or short, however frequently or infrequently, there is something special for me in these encounters – encounters that pull together a bit tighter the different strands of my life. That reconnects me, not only to people of my past, but to laid down pieces of my own life. And right now I’m feeling very grateful for that.