People United to Save Everything?
People Undergoing Lots of Special Experiences?
People Undertaking Lewd Sexual Endeavors?
Last Saturday I went to a reunion of college friends involved in a program called PULSE. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in 30 years (please don’t do the math). Greeting each person held a moment of confusion. Who’s face is this? Where have I landed? Is this The Twilight Zone? The Matrix? Do I still have a heartbeat? A pulse?
Then everything clicked into place. We were back there, calling each other by our last names (even if they had changed), telling stories, laughing, sharing outrage and photos and inside jokes. As undergraduates, PULSE sent us into the heart of Boston with the drug addicts, the homeless, the mentally ill, the abused. With the elderly and the children and the saints and the sinners. We opened our wide eyes wider and walked in fully expecting to save the world.
We were so young, brimming with fear, energy, angst and love. Ready for something great and nobel and rebellious. It was a time of dichotomy. The Muppet Movie and Apocalypse Now. Farah Fawcett hair cuts, disco and Three Mile Island. I’m OK, You’re OK and All the Presidents Men. Were we hippies or yuppies? Intellectuals or blue-collar souls? Were we looking for God or running from religion? Misfits? Superstars? Self-righteous? Humble? Furious or infuriating?
Thirty years later, a bit weathered, a bit weary, we realize the world has not been saved. Instead, PULSE and its cohorts saved us. And it saved us in the same way anything or anyone saves you–it gave us our voice.
Tonight I am taking my 2 daughters to see Straight No Chaser. My girls are chorus geeks so this is like bringing them to see the Dalai Lama at Fenway. And quite literally, I have come to understand that for my oldest it was chorus that gave her her voice. Peace signs currently help my youngest speak up (yes, they are even on her underwear). And for me these days, it’s writing.
Oddly, PULSE doesn’t stand for anything. But to me, it stands for everything. Thank god I had this organization. My entourage, my posse, my peeps. What would I have done without you? Your pain and humor and unbreakable caring. My friends, my partners in time. You rescued me.
What’s rescued you?