Recently I had the privilege and honor of being inducted along with my girl’s basketball teammates into my high school athletic hall of fame. Now you may be thinking “what’s the big deal?” and, frankly, a part of me felt the same way going into this event. But now, having seen my teammates from nearly 40 years ago, and heard the speeches of the other inductees, the importance of this event in my life has been profound.
I have been overwhelmed lately by feelings of isolation. Isolated because I’m single. Isolated because of my job that consumes so much of my time and energy. Isolated because, well, sometimes I just need to be alone and away from the busyness of life. It’s not a bad thing to be alone, and one can often find renewal in solitude and quiet. But when isolation leads to the destruction of connections to loved ones and to those who are and have been a part of our lives, it can deeply affect one’s feelings of connection to the universe. A sense of purpose can be lost.
The decades that have elapsed since the last basket was made have in no way destroyed the memories of that time. Seeing my former teammates for the first time in many years could have been awkward. We have all gone our separate ways, and most do not keep in touch, except through Facebook, but even then what do we really have in common? Our lives are vastly different now than they were when we were teenagers. Yes, seeing them could have been awkward, but it wasn’t. We hugged, talked, cried and laughed as though those decades that had passed were mere minutes. The shared experiences that we lived through as teenagers created lifelong connections that lay dormant in my memory until I stepped through the door to the auditorium.
Reflecting on my emotions of that evening, I realized that we are forever connected to those who cross our path. Separation by time, distance or even death does not destroy the connection. The connection lies in our memories and, more importantly, in our hearts. If we simply allow them to come forth, we can celebrate them for how they have enriched our lives.