I continue to be surprised by the growing richness of reconnections since I’ve moved back to Michigan. For a long time I believed that friendships have sunsets, eventual conclusions. Having forgotten that part of the beauty of the sunset is in knowing that the sun will rise again the next morning, I can’t help but be in a little awe.
While I greatly enjoyed the presentations I heard at Cornerstone last weekend (and I’m sure that the quality excerpts will find their way into my writing over the next few weeks), the most rewarding aspect of the weekend were the old friends I reconnected with. I spent most of Sunday with two friends from high school and a favorite acquaintance from college who happen to be living in an intentional community in Lansing now. At the conference, I had run into even more old connections. Without having planned on it, I spent the majority of Saturday with a friend I’d thought I’d never see again: Punk Rock Steve.
I can’t tell you when exactly it was that he and I first met other than to say it was his freshman year and my senior year in college (I think). Somehow, probably through the help of mutual friends, we discovered that we could have great conversations that were almost always illuminating. But when I graduated we lost touch (which was largely my fault because I lost his email and he wasn’t on facebook then). Recently, he found me on facebook. Truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever been so elated about a friend request.
He is a film major and one of the most well-read, well-viewed people you might ever meet. Though, of course considering the subculture he’s a part of (he’s a true punk rocker by the way, not a Hot Topic one), with somewhat more of a leaning toward the avant-garde. While we share some tastes in common, where we differ we tend to differ fiercely. I like to say that if he loves something I’ll probably hate it and vice versa. Oddly, maybe, this is one of my favorite parts of our friendship.
It is our difference in taste that typically leads us into our best conversations. He has a knack for helping me to see the value in something that I would otherwise have completely written off, like “The Science of Sleep.” I still have no desire to ever see that film again but I appreciate it a lot more after our conversation. I tend to be able to do the same for him, like pointing out to him the value Atlas Shrugged has to offer once you disregard all the dumb reasons most people like it.
I was hoping to see him at the conference but I didn’t mention it. I figured I’d leave running into each other to chance. That first evening I didn’t see him but he was there the next morning. He came to my presentation and from that point on we pretty much staying in conversation. We did separate to go to different sessions and often paused to talk with other people. Largely because of him, I stuck around Cornerstone an extra three hours that day.
I must admit that I enjoyed the juxtaposition of us that day. He was wearing two tone corduroy pants with hand sewn mended patches and a faded long-sleeve t-shirt with holes in the sleeves, every item in earthy tones. I was wearing nice looking skinny blue jeans and a sharp black blazer with a silky royal blue tank top underneath. In my four inch wedged booties, I was just over 5’11,” a stark contrast to his 5’2”. Though we could hardly be more different in style and size, we were perfectly at ease as equals.
When Logan and I shared about our Saturday he said, “Sounds like the most valuable part of the day for you was reconnecting with Steve.” He wasn’t wrong. Since we’ve stayed in loose conversation, I have a feeling that soon his influence is going to seep over into my entries.
Life looking backwards has not been what I expected. These unanticipated sunrises make me grateful that I followed the inexplicable wind that led me back here.