>a touch of light

>I was sixteen – that seems a good place to start. I had led music for my youth group for a couple of years… this Sunday morning was no exception. My co-leader had been tapped for the main service downstairs, and Brent was filling in (albeit tentatively) as guitarist. He was a little bit of a novice, still getting his bearings on the instrument; it had taken quite a bit of cajoling to get him to play up front as the “main guy.”

So here we were, leading the group in song. We paused between numbers. Suddenly, as teenagers are wont to do, kids started chanting. “Touch of Light!” they yelled, a current favorite song amongst the group. There was a moment of panic amongst the band. What do we do?

I wanted to protect Brent, who had so courageously offered himself up for this despite his well-warranted reservations. I wanted to say, “Hey! Go easy on the guy! He’s nervous, and I don’t know if he knows how to play that! We seriously practiced to make sure this was as painless as possible for him! Stop!”

What came out was, “Hey, this isn’t a democracy…”

Before any other words came forth, someone shouted back “Who made YOU tyrant?!?!”

I remember nothing after this point – if I said anything else, if anyone else said anything else to me. All I recall is the face of two dear friends as they shouted, “Who made YOU tyrant?!?!” over and over again. Angry. Disdainful. Hateful.

I do know that at some point one of the youth leaders stepped up and regained control, checked with Brent that he could, indeed, play “Touch of Light” (or attempt it, anyway), and off we went into the song. I looked at the floor, tried not to cry publicly, tried not to believe that my friends really thought that of me.

And why, to this day, that moment remains emblazoned on my mind and heart is completely beyond me. The shame, embarrassment, the feeling of being totally misunderstood and not given the benefit of the doubt – it haunts me. Anytime I think of something I regret, or a time I’ve failed or fallen short – this is the moment that comes rushing back, no less painful than when it happened nearly 15 years ago.

I have no contact with the people involved anymore.

I no longer lead up front – barely know where I stand in terms of faith anymore. Don’t know if I’d want Olive to grow up and be Little Suzy Youth Group like I was.

So why does this still get me?

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3 Responses to >a touch of light

  1. >It still gets you because it was mean and uncalled for and unjust. And injustice stings.I have a couple of moments like that, too. One related to music and one related to my attempts at humor. Both from that age (so for me it’s even longer ago!!), so maybe “that age” has something to do with it too.To try to be pollyanna-ish and put a positive slant on it (which, can be completely annoying) Have you been able to use that incident to build your compassion or empathy for others in that situation? I think you probably have.peace.p.s. did the pictures make it through the email?

  2. heather says:

    >Isn’t it strange what things we hold on to? I have some too. Things I should be able to think on and not feel that sting. I suppose, especially in the most vulnerable years, our hearts get hurt and don’t really heal. Someone does or says something painful that speaks a little lie to our innermost parts, telling us our hearts are not good. A bit of the truth is stolen and it’s hard to get back. The truth that we really are good.

  3. Elle says:

    >Thank you, ladies, for believing the best of me and feeling my hurt. I tend to think on that moment as something I brought on myself by a poor choice of words or some attitude people saw in me. Jeff asked once if maybe part of the sting was in that they had seen a tiny sliver of truth in my pride as a leader – and perhaps that’s true. Whatever the truth is, that arrow landed deep and it did steal some of my own truth that my heart is good. I still question that. So, again, thank you for your support and tenderness with my little heart. It means more than you could know.

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