Blast From The Past
I had an interesting experience this weekend. The youth group at my home parish hosted a multi artist praise and worship concert. I hadn’t planned on attending, but I was home for a visit with my parents anyway and as a fortuitous coincidence one of my friends from high school was playing with one of the groups.
Paul wasn’t a close friend, by any means. We were in one musical together my freshman year, and he had a casual relationship with one of my good friends throughout high school. I always got the impression that it would have been more serious if she had returned more of his calls. Regardless, we always got along, were always happy to see each other when we did, and still wish each other “Happy Birthday” on Facebook.
When I heard that Paul was now traveling the country, playing in a praise and worship band with his sisters and brother, I was vaguely surprised. It didn’t mesh with the image I remembered of Paul, who was passionate about jazz drumming and emo music. Plus I had no idea that he was devout. I knew he was Catholic, but 90% of the people I knew growing up were Catholic. I agreed to attend, at the very least to keep my mom company, and at the most to catch up with a friend who’s company I always enjoyed.
As soon as we walked in our Church Hall, my pastor ran over to us:
“I didn’t know you knew Mario’s son!” I laughed, apparently, upon seeing the hall, where he had once jammed for my older brother’s birthday, about ten years ago, Paul had freaked out and demanded who knew my family. As my mother is the director of religious education, everyone did.
The show began. Paul’s band played second and although he was drumming, it was clear from the get go that he was the leader. And seeing him perform, I realized how clearly this did mesh with my memories of Paul. He always had boundless energy and light, I just never realized that it came from a love of family and Christ, and not just a good attitude.
Afterward he came running out from back stage and gave me a huge hug and a asked my mom if she remembered him. We laughed and caught up and vowed to get back in touch, the wya you always do when you run into an old friend.
Except, I hope that I meant it this time. I love my “new life,” as I’ve been calling it. My job, my new city and new friends are excellent. But I miss those connections, the simple basic ease of having shared background and faith with someone, so it’s impossible to fall out of step with them.
As I reflected on the night I realized that was probably why Paul and I always connected, even if we never were terribly close. And it’s wonderful and faith affirming to think about. The Lord works in wonderful and mysterious ways, and I think he brough me to that auditorium to remind me that I don’t have to completely shed my past to embrace my future. Even the most casual seeming connections are always going to be a part of me, and to lose or sever them hurts your faith more than it could ever help.
So I have to thank Paul for that, and hopefully I won’t wait until his birthdya rolls around and do it via wall post.