Yesterday I learned by the grace of Facebook that someone I went to high school with passed away. I didn’t know her well, but I do remember her. It saddens me to hear this, but it also warms my heart to see people console and comfort one another. As I scroll down the newsfeed I recognize my old classmates and their comments. I am Facebook friends with the majority of them. This had me thinking a lot about the concept of “classes”.
“Classes” for lack of a better word is what I’m using to describe an era one is a part of. Daren coined it once when I was trying to describe the strange feeling I got at work one day when I saw two old co-workers in a large hospital wide leadership meeting pass one another after one received an award. They made quick eye contact and didn’t say a word. It was a sparkle of the eye and perhaps not quite a full nod of the head, but certainly an acknowledgment in a very comfortable way that one was pleased for the other; and the recipient acknowledged the greeting with an unspoken thank you. Neither one of them nor I work together any longer, but we did work together for several years and developed sort of a family. Daren said it’s like a “class”. Class? I asked. Yes, class; like in high school or college. And I thought – ahhhh…. like boot camp or when a group of people work together.
My graduating class in 1994 had 550ish students. I pretty much remember every last one of them. It was 22 years ago the last time we were all together walking off the football field on a hot summer June afternoon, but the common bond is still there. More time has passed than the age we were at the time; but I completely recognize the faces and even their personalities. A few more grey hairs and some life lines on the faces; but everyone very much looks the same to me. We were not a group that had the Internet, email, social media, or even really used a computer when we went our separate ways. Somehow around 15 years later or so when most 30 somethings started using social media, many of us logged into these sites and through friends and acquaintances virtually hooked up and became “Facebook friends”.
I was in many different classes to date in my life and will likely be in several more. I was in a class with all the places I was stationed in the military. With my NJROTC group. With every work circle and job I had. With many of the graduates from my highschool who moved on in 1993 and 1995. My old vanpool, my current yoga teacher training, even with the kids in my neighborhood and on my bus back in Mastic Beach. These classes are not all the same and do not hold the same level of bonding, but they are all special none-the-less.
Three of these classes had bonds for me that are stronger than the rest. When I see the individuals I shared these experiences with either in real life or through social media, some level of comfort comes over me. I feel safe with them. The first class was my high school graduating one and the folks who commenced in my exact year. The second was the first ship I was stationed on “The Boutwell”. And the third was my last job in Primary Care at the VA Hospital.
I remember the men and women, boys and girls in these groups fondly. I can easily recall everyone’s quirks, strengths and weaknesses. There were group jokes and references. I didn’t enjoy them all the time, but I would liken it to a family. You are with a group and you are comfortable. Everyone has a role. People help each other & have one another’s back at the end of the day. And years later that sticks with you even when you aren’t together any longer. That bond is just always there.
The lighter bonds are also distinguishable. My inner energies do light up and recognize my other classes or those with whom I’ve never met as we share common experiences. There is a level of recognition and comfort that one can’t put into words. For example when I meet someone who was in Coast Guard or from my hometown (both rarely), or even from Long Island; something inside me recognizes on a subtle level that deep down my body already knew this before they told me.
That inner recognition is why I honor the word Namaste so deeply. I can see, feel, and hear even the spirit in all beings when I actually look. It’s there all the time but we aren’t trained to recognize it. We can capitalize on it more by recognizing what Namaste really is through common experiences and noticing what it feels like, so we can dig deeper to see that it’s always there; and treat everyone and everything with love, dignity and respect.
My heart smiles as I watch my old classmates recall memories and express their disbelief and sadness over the passing of one of our own. It’s helped me to recognize a little more of the subtle energy in our world. I am grateful for those three experiences with classes in my life where the bond for me runs a little deeper because they have helped me to experience the world more consciously. Which is a gift we all have and should never take for granted.