“Hi Matthew, Are you the piano playing prefect at Kings Park Secondary School? Villa-Lobos might ring a bell.” The question came in an email. The answer to the question is “yes” and my response was “I assume you are the guitar playing section of the short lived duo?!”
And so after 45 years, a school friend got in touch. We lost contact when we left school and in those dim and distant days of the 1970s with no modern communication methods, and going our separate ways to further education and then me to Bangladesh we had not been in touch. He took early retirement 5 years ago and now has time to look up school friends. A Google search (other search engines are available!) of my name, brought him into contact again.
I did something I have never done before and “googled” my own name and there on the screen came Carnoustie Panbride Church, references to me which appeared in other Church newsletters and when I looked at images (I wish I hadn’t bothered!) there were many of me in Bangladesh (one doing a Bengali dance with a friend from 1977!) – there was even a YouTube download of the “Time for Reflection” I gave to the Scottish Parliament in June 2013!
When I look back to these halcyon days – I’m sure they weren’t – but from this distance I remember they were – there were a number of friends with whom I lost contact. One I know became a professional footballer, playing for Scotland and Manchester City and is now involved in coaching at a professional level; another went into teaching; occasionally people from my past do cross my path again – one was in church a couple of years ago when she was holidaying in Carnoustie with her husband and had seen my name on the church notice board and wondered if it could possibly be. It was and she was a Kings Park Secondary prefect too!
Former teachers also cross my path – when I preached for the Carnoustie Panbride vacancy committee in Arbroath – I recognised the organist as being my music teacher at school! It should be said that I was a very young pupil and she was a very young teacher (!) and she is now Session Clerk at Arbroath St Andrews.
Friends from Agricultural College days also cross my path – one with whom I shared digs (and gave him lifts in my little blue mini!) farms at Inverarity and has relatives in Carnoustie Panbride.
It is good to keep in touch, but as I have discovered, sometimes circumstances conspire to make this impossible, due to the different paths life’s journey takes us.
Our faith journey also can take us different ways, but we must always remember that the One who is the foundation of our faith, always keeps in touch with us. “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. “I am with you always to the end of the age”. That should be an encouragement to us all.