41 years later
A presentation a mere 15km away from my hometown of Wiesbaden. Via telephone I invite four class mates from my senior school: “This evening at 7p.m. in Wallau’s church”. Three of them can make it; the fourth unfortunately has a zoom meeting, but sends her husband instead. That is a valid excuse and great compensation!
The visitors have left the venerable building a while ago many of which took a book or two home with them. The five of us are standing together: “It was a very long time ago”; the quote refers to the Bap band. Back then sitting at our school desks when our lives full of chances and possibilities were still in front of us. It seemed that everything was possible: we were healthy, full of energy and the world was our oyster.
Now each one of us can write his or her own story. Highlights and lowlights. Life has left its mark on each one of us. We have learnt to take forecasts as regards the future with a big pinch of salt.
“When you called me,” said Bärbel, “I was in the car in order to plant ten trees in Lebenswäldchen Bärenherz (translated as little life-forest bear-heart).” The children’s hospital in Wiesbaden cares for dying children. These beautiful plants on the Kellerkopf outside the city will hopefully comfort their parents.
I immediately think of one of the last pictures in my presentation: Christ’s empty grave. My hope of eternal life. Our births and our deaths form a big bracket between which our existence takes place. Four decades have passed since our A-Levels. What will come next?
The vicar brings me to the car. We are delighted that despite Corona so many people came to the old church to attend the event. Some confirmands were also present. They surely think that a long life is still before them. But the five of us standing at the church door know how time flies. And then?
I think back to a church in Cardiff. In 1988 Tina and I worked at the University Clinic of Wales. The Sunday service ended with the priest saying: “God be with you!” and we all responded “And also with you!” There is nothing better that we can wish for each other. /KDJ