Everyone has school friends, and from what I have observed, most people have a complicated relationship with them. We change so much once we're unleashed on the world, it is sometimes hard to know how to relate anymore. What is in common is so far removed now.
But then facebook keeps the thread there somehow. Barely, it seems, at times. But there all the same.
And that's how I came to be sitting alongside a friend from school I haven't seen in more than 7 years in a cafe in Brunswick on Sunday afternoon.
Somehow, we'd not managed to catch up in Sydney, even though we'd lived there for long enough. She was in Melbourne for the weekend and got in touch with me after discovering I'd moved.
As we were chatting, she commented how strangely liberating meeting in another city is. Who can explain the lightness of being that comes when you leave behind the things of before and create a new reality together?
Of course we started where all rendevous' begin: so, what's been happening these past 7 years?? 7 years is a long time.
"So, I've changed pretty massively," I say, attempting to be shameless in my admission.
"Yeah, I know," she says. "I was so shocked when I heard you became a Christian, because you were such a rabid athiest...."
And so the conversation began.
It got me thinking about how much has changed since school. How Jesus has really gripped me to the point of no return, how he is my everything now. How I could never have imagined this in Year 8. How my friends could never have imagined this in Year 8.
But then I remembered that God is beyond our imagination, that his grace, his love stretches into the darkest places, and calls us out.
How he wants us to come as we are. And I came - a foul-mouthed, God-hating, God in my own right kind of person - to him, a rejected, broken man on a cross, who died for my rejection of God. Who stitched my soul back together with the threads of his own blood and anguish.
I was reading some Dietrich Bonhoeffer today, and was struck by his description of Jesus' death.
"Jesus died on the cross alone, abandoned by his dsciples. It was not two of his faithful followers who hung beside him, but two murderers. But they all stood beneath the cross: enemies and the faithful, doubters and the fearful, the scornful and the converted, and all of them and their sin were included in this hour in Jesus' prayer for forgiveness. God's merciful love lives in the midst of its foes. It is the same Jesus Christ who by grace calls us to follow him and whose grace saves the thief on the cross in his last hour."
I was a foe, and God loved me anyway. This still blows me away.