Monday, February 14, 2011

Relationships That Last

For the seventh time in 30 years, I am putting on a reunion for my college freshman dorm.  Stanford has class reunions every five years, but even though I only live 30 minutes away, the “whole class” reunion is really not why I attend. We had 1,500 students in our class.
Though I met wonderful people in college, it was my freshman dorm that was my family.  There were 70 of us from all over the country.  At that time, they didn’t put roommates or dorms together based on what you had in common.  They just threw us together.
I have never felt more at home than I did in my freshman year.  All of us, girls and boys kept an eye out for each other.  I loved having lots of brothers and sisters.
As I begin tracking everyone down and getting us together again, I am overwhelmed by how almost 75% of this dorm comes back together every five years.  Even though it’s been a number of years since the last reunion, the emails pour in,  “I’ll be there.  Thanks for doing this”.
I think what makes this group tight even without seeing each other for long stretches is what we shared together.  We had absolutely no idea what we were doing.  It was new, not just to one of us, but to all of us.  
There is something about sharing absolute vulnerability that breeds a very deep bond.
To this day, one of these “old” friends could say something to me and I would smile knowing exactly who they are at their core.  It is doubtful they would ever try to “impress” me with anything but sincerity because they know I would see right through it.
I think that is the essence of true friendships that last.  When you know someone in their least secure times, you know who they really are.  
I am blessed to have many friends who fall into this category, as I know you do.

But, what makes this slightly different is the size of the group and that all of us lived in the same boat for a whole year.
As I get older, I realize that it’s these relationships that bring me the greatest joy because knowing someone without any layers of pretense is a very special gift and I do not take it lightly.