After getting over the shock of realising it's been ten years, I had to decide; to go or not to go? Perhaps you had to ask yourself the same question for your own reunion!
It would have been very easy to miss it. And I was tempted to.
In the end I went. Mainly to see girlfriends I still keep in contact with. I also, strangely, enjoy the grown-up feeling that comes with saying, 'I went to my ten year high school reunion on the weekend'. I was also hoping it would be an opportunity to show my old classmates what God has done in my life since high school. How that would happen, I wasn't sure. I left that bit to Him.
On Saturday night, the reunion started. After a tour around our old school we set off to a local pub for drinks and food. This was the fascinating part.
Walking into the room, my 26 year old body was suddenly inhabited by my 16 year old mind. People stood, clumped around the room in exactly the same cliques and groups as they had ten years ago (this time, sans uniform). The same boys (now men) who I was intimidated by and scared to talk to were still just as intimidating and scary to me.
The same girls who had always been 'above me' still seemed prettier, more confident and self-assured and I was certain they had no interest in my life whatsoever. My life in Melbourne, with my wonderful friends and family, and my usual confidence seemed a world away. I wondered why I had come.
I spent most of the night settled at a table, under the (helpful) guise of looking after my friend, whose recent knee surgery prevented her from circulating the room. To amuse us was a booklet of past photos and recaps of what people were up to now, ten years after school. There was a common thread among the recaps; people's lives were summed up and measured in houses, spouses, travel, careers, businesses and babies.
I admired all that people had achieved, while at the same time wondering if people were satisfied with their lives. What happens once they've reached those goals, ticked all those boxes of life achievements? And what about me? Were those the goals I was really aspiring to reach with my life?
Being in ministry, I have accepted a certain lifestyle and set of priorities in life. House ownership seems a laughable fantasy. Overseas travel - a rare treat, rather than an annual expectation. A career that is dependent on God's provision through the faithful giving of Christian family and friends. My business about proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and doing what I can to teach and present university students mature in Him.
If the measures of success in the reunion booklet are anything to go by, I'm a bit of a loser (my saving grace is my wonderful husband!!)
The weekend challenged me. As I surveyed the achievements of my classmates and friends, there was a sense of missing out. The weekend opened up my secret longings for comfort in the things that the world offers. Things like a big house in a safe suburb behind a white picket fence. A healthy bank account. Insurance for any potential catastrophe affecting health or material possessions. An exciting overseas trip and the bragging rights that follow. Things that seem, to most Australians, to be the basics of a successful, comfortable, secure life.
So the reunion revealed my heart quite clearly. At heart, I'm a materialistic, pleasure-seeking, comfort-lover. I had to get honest. What am I doing? Why am I giving up on these seemingly-delightful things the world offers? And if I had those things, would I be satisfied?
The answer to my question was found in Christ. As I prayed after the reunion, God kindly showed me truth of the trade I'm making with my life: brief, worldly comfort and security for an everlasting inheritance. In the face of a glorious eternity, the 'things of earth' really do grow dim.
I'm sure I'll still struggle with these desires. To want what everyone else has and wonder if I'm making the right choice. But I hope that one day I will, and you also, dear reader, be able to share the Apostle Paul's conviction;
"…I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…" (Philippians 3 verses 8-9)
Sarah Urmston is based in Melbourne and shares a 5x7m flat with her husband, Stephen. She works with RMIT Melbourne's Christian Union group as an apprentice, and loves the privilege of sharing Jesus with the students. Since beginning student ministry, her desire – nay – need for coffee has grown exponentially.
Sarah Urmston previous articles may be viewed www.pressserviceinternational.org/sarah-urmston.html