I've always been fascinated by the lives of great scientists and thinkers. Today was Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, and BYU had a special lecture in his memory. The lecture was enlightening, but most memorable for me was waiting in line to get a piece of birthday cake after the lecture.
In the line I met a girl that I had gone to high school with and had not seen for several years. I was also standing next to a friend that I lived with in Helaman Halls during my freshman year. Those two are both biology majors and began to chat. Soon after this meeting I found someone that served in my same mission and who happens to be in my ballroom dance class. Just then, two more friends from high school arrived on the scene and joined our conversation. Those two began talking with my mission friend and discovered that they had a mutual friend from Massachusetts that served a mission in Guatemala, where one of them served. As my mission friend left he signaled to my friend from freshman year, indicating that they also knew each other.
We all have many friends and acquaintances, and running into them unexpectedly is not uncommon. The fusion of social circles, however, is a peculiar experience. I often forget that the mental compartmentalization of persons is no more than the brain's attempt of organizing data and does not necessarily represent the possibility or impossibility of certain social interactions.
I traveled through five years of history in a matter of minutes as I conversed with these friends from the different periods of my life. I looked at each of them individually, then collectively, and thought, "These people represent my life." Not entirely, but they make up a significant portion. Neat!
I imagine that funerals must be very similar, except you aren't available to make introductions. Unfortunately, forcing different social circles together without a common, living link is just awkward. Heck, it's usually awkward even with an introduction! Maybe I can hold my funeral before I pass on to make the occasion enjoyable for all. It would be wholesome fun, and everyone would be invited. Then, when I really die, everyone will already be friends so they can focus on me instead of feeling awkward around each other.
That's probably still a long ways off, though, so in the meantime I'll keep making friends and preparing for my living funeral preparation party. If you're reading this, you're invited.