Brian McLaren’s Toast at our 40th Reunion

Brian McLarenGood evening, friends. What an amazing thing to be back together after 40 years! When you look around, it’s clear that we all look almost exactly the same as 40 years ago (!) … except that many of us have a little less hair and a little more weight; we’ve lost some innocence and gained some wisdom; we more wrinkled and less muscular; we’re less agile and more fragile … but apart from that, we’re exactly the same!

We’ve all experienced a lot since we graduated – marriages and divorces, sicknesses and recoveries, breakdowns and breakthroughs. We’ve given birth to children, welcomed grandchildren, and said good-bye to parents. Through all that we’ve been through, we’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff that preoccupied us back in 1974, and we come to this night more aware than ever what a great gift it is to be alive.

I know that I speak for all of us in wanting to express thanks to the great team that made this once-in-a-lifetime gathering possible.

  1. Jimmy Reed – for organizing and securing the venue and the golf outing.
  2. A special shout out for Lee Annis who did an amazing job of tracking down so many classmates! We would never have had this turn out without all his hard work.
  3. Stu who Jimmy already mentioned who put the website together
  4. Rosemary for lots of excellent organizing and coordinating work and standing in for Meredith when she was away.
  5. Joan Ditchey for all the hours of work on all the financial and banking involved to organize this.
  6. Reina for scanning in the yearbooks.
  7. Julie Nissan for organizing the music. Rick Cauble for his assistance and help in Julie’s absence.
  8. Debbie McFee for doing the great walk down memory lane photo slide show.
  9. Meredith for picking an amazing team and providing the leadership needed to bring us together.

When I say “bring us together,” it’s important to acknowledge that there are 2 classmates [Charles Stedman & Lee Zeidman] that had planned to attend and due to health issues, were unable to and we want to keep them in our thoughts and prayers wish them a speedy and complete recovery. And we want to take a moment now and acknowledge the names of our 1974 classmates who have passed away over these forty years. I wonder as I read these names, if each of us can hold them with thankfulness in our hearts:

  • Marque Albert
  • Donald Charles Austin
  • Chuck Bowser
  • John Brunner
  • Sharon Purnell Ebald
  • Alexander Donald
  • Patricia Eubanks
  • Barbara Lynn Giampietro
  • Lisa Beth Luther
  • Michael Malloy
  • Jean Ann Marble
  • William McCarthy
  • Teresa Marie McIntyre
  • Gary McNerney
  • Alan Darrell Morris
  • Thomas Earl Myers
  • Martha Lee Houlder Niland
  • Kathleen Ann Norris Tracy
  • Richard Parajinog
  • Robert Parajinog
  • Kathy Rothenhoefer
  • Stephanie Rouse Greisler
  • Arthur Stewart
  • Raymond Windsor
  • Steven Richard Woodell
  • Kenneth Mitchell Weinstein
  • Jeffrey Evan Yelton

Before we begin the meal, let’s pause for a moment to express gratitude for the amazing gift of life that we are sharing tonight …

To do that, I would like to lead us in a prayer or meditation in which we all can share … When I say, “With all our hearts,” you can say, “We are truly thankful.”

Let’s practice. With all our hearts … WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL.

For this breath, for this heartbeat, for the gift of friends and family, and especially for these companions, with all our hearts … WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL.

For our memories of our lives together, forty years behind us now, for friendships that pick up tonight where they left off then, for our friends whose lives have ended, and for all who are standing with us now, with all our hearts … WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL.

For the joys and blessings we have savored since we last sat down together, for struggles and difficulties that we’ve survived and through which we have grown stronger and wiser, with all our hearts … WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL.

For this meal, for this nourishment and flavor, for soil and sunlight, air and rainfall, with all our hearts … WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL.

For all to whom this food connects us, from field to farm, and store to table, and once again, for one another, with all our hearts … WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL.

As we share this meal together, may our thirst for peace be strengthened, and our hunger for justice deepened, until all are fed, and safe, and well, with all our hearts … WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL.

May the giver of all good gifts fill us tonight not only with joy and celebration tonight, but also with deep gratitude and a sense of the precious wonder of the gift of life … with all our hearts: WE ARE TRULY THANKFUL. — at Manor Country Club.

  2 comments for “Brian McLaren’s Toast at our 40th Reunion

  1. Tim Lee
    August 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    It was difficult for me to hear all of Brian McLaren’s toast the evening of our 40th Reunion so “Thank you” for reproducing it here. Beautifully done, Brian.

    August 19, 2014 at 1:46 am

    I have shared with so many Brian’s lovely toast. Thank you.

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