High School Buddy in Iraq

Sgt. Jeremiah JamesYesterday’s nostalgic trip down memory lane prompted the ever-popular search for old high school friends I’ve lost touch with. Of course none of my high school friends are as Internet-geeky as I am. A simple google search will find me pretty quickly, but finding my friends is another story.

I did manage to find one person: Sgt. Jeremiah James. Of course when I knew him he wasn’t a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Last time I saw him he was talking about joining the army and becoming a Ranger. I’ve heard bits about him hear and there, stories of a fire fight in Iraq, rumors of being shipped to Germany. But I’ve never been able to get in touch with him. Today I managed to find a story about his experiences in Iraq, including the story of that fire fight. His picture is exactly as I remember it. I’m hoping to track him down and get in touch, this time for real.

Jeremiah was the friend I never had in high school. He showed up junior year in my English Lit. class and we quickly became friends. He was a quiet, easy going guy, but very friendly. It turns out he was a Christian and started coming to my church and youth group.

In some ways he was a bridge of reality between my group of church friends and my school friends. He stepped in and helped the fledgling Bible study group I was trying to start. I gave him rides to school, once netting my first speeding ticket cutting through a neighborhood and roaring down Willow Road trying to make up for my lateness (didn’t work — cost me about $90).

I was definitely more comfortable at that point in high school. I wasn’t constantly trying to fit in and worrying about everything. Though I was also quiet and shy. In some small way, I think Jeremiah helped me see and understand how faith could be lived out. Just the simple matter of having a friend who shared my beliefs in such a difficult environment meant a lot.

I remember a lot of lunches and rides to and from school. I remember Jeremiah complaining about the bitter winters. I remember cramming six kids into my Mustang one day after Bible study (don’t tell my parents!). I remember sharing dating advice, as if I was the wise romancer.

After high school Jeremiah moved back to Virginia and went to college in Minnesota. We slowly lost touch. We’d see each other occasionally at holidays if we both went back to Michigan at the same time, but that’s happened less and less frequently.

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