I had a very strange experience today.
I was going to a reunion of people from my old school in celebration of its 50th birthday. Murree Christian School is a unique international boarding school in the Himalayan mountains in Pakistan. I boarded there in the mid-1980s. (Check out www.mcs.org.pk)
I was looking forward to it very much, but as I drove up to the conference centre, I started to feel upset and teary. When I got there, I found I could hardly participate. It was hard to sing and to pray, and even to talk to people. Suddenly I had this great welling of emotional feelings which I couldn't define. I kept wanting to cry, and embarrassed myself in about six or seven different conversations with people I haven't seen for years.
It wasn't as if I only have memories of school that are negative. Yes, there are plenty of tears and hurts that come back, but I also have many wonderful recollections of fun times and friendships.
I think that MCS for me was a time of very intense emotions. The downs were extremely hard. The ups were almost over the top. In a hothouse, closeknit environment like boarding school, everything becomes magnified. So even now, about 17 years later, thinking about MCS brings back all that intensity of feeling. It's almost easier just to put the whole thing to one side and ignore it than feel all those strong griefs and joys again.
I left early because the baby was getting stroppy and the emotional energy was all too much for me. As I drove back down the mountain, the feelings started to subside. And when I walked back into our house and said hello to the family, I felt fine (although a little tired!).
Emotions and memories are extraordinary things.