The balmy Baltimore air greeted me like an old friend. I had spent four memorable years of my young life in this eclectic city. Back then, I was a proud seventeen year old who thought she knew everything about life. Thirty years later I had returned a much older, and perhaps wiser woman – shaped and molded by life’s joys and sufferings and quite confident that I will never know everything about life.
Our little group entered the picturesque Evergreen campus at dusk, and slowly made our way to the Reunion venue. Of course we were late…we were always fashionably late back in the day. Walking the tree-lined grounds, climbing the steep stone steps and peeking into favorite campus spots, it all seemed so incredibly familiar. How could thirty years have passed? The campus had modernized a bit, but we could easily place ourselves back into this comfortable scene.
In moments, we were reunited with beloved college friends from a class which graduated in the same year as the collapse of the Berlin wall. Freedom had finally befallen a tortured European nation and yet when I think back to my college days, memories regarding world events are not as prominent as those of living happily as a Loyola Greyhound. As young adults coming of age during the Gulf War, the Savings & Loan Crisis and the economic boom of the mid 1990’s – we were keenly aware of our call to love, serve and care for one another, thanks to the gift of our Jesuit education which was woven into every aspect of our collegiate experience. But we had yet to mature into the men and women whom God had created us to be. Time, experience, joys and sufferings would help us live our way into this reality and Loyola’s Ignatian values of finding God in every aspect of our lives had prepared us well to handle the unknown journey ahead.
As I talked among my friends that night, I smiled thinking “Yes, Loyola is a special place.” What impressed me most about this reunion was that classmates had come out of love for each other. We all had stories to share – those involving happy life moments like marriage, children, professional success and goals achieved. And we had other stories too – those which we could never have anticipated thirty years ago as young adults – heartbreak, loss, pain and real suffering. Amidst it all, we smiled and gave thanks for the gift of one another and the random event which occurred back in the fall of 1985 sealing our fate as friends (and Greyhounds) forever.
Flying home to Boston on Sunday I felt reflective. So much time had passed since seeing many of my classmates but it felt like only yesterday when we were united in spirit cheering on our favorite Greyhound team! I guess it’s because my class is comprised of truly special people – certainly intelligent but more importantly grounded, giving and humble human beings who walk in the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Thirty years later, I suppose we are slowly becoming the people whom God has called us to be. Who could ask for anything more? Go Hounds!