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Land on Your Heart

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Once I finished our introductions, the youth group shares their burdens and we all listen intently. I remember when I was sixteen. Now, believe me, I wasn’t perfect. Was anyone back then? But I feel like I had even more memories and troubles in my teen years. Maybe that is what inspired me to become a youth group leader at our local church.


I was ten when everything started to fall apart. My older brother had just turned sixteen and was a sophomore at Phillips High School. Another boy (a senior might I add) had dropped out of school and ran away to New York. Apparently, Matthew had the same idea. My mom was just getting on him about going out with Rebecca. Rebecca went to Phillips with Matt. She also lived in the apartment below us. She was a punk rocker. Complete with chains and the heaviest makeup you have ever seen on a sixteen year old girl. Just as Becca and Matt were getting more serious, my mother discovered their relationship.

Need less to say, that was the end of that. A few months later, Matt packed up the little that he had, and sauntered out of the door. I have seen him twice since then. Once at the grocery store when we got lost and ended up in Chicago, I saw Matt at the bagging counter. Then, when I was tenth grade, he showed up at my school. He was saying that Mom had sent him to pick me up. After that little encounter, I knew he was high, or drunk, or both. I toke over and drove him to Motel 8 and checked him in. I left him and his car there and walked to the bus station and rode the bus with a bunch of gross other people. My mom decided he wasn’t worth our time, we never spoke of Matt again. We never saw him again. Matt became a distant memory in our minds.

“And that is what I did this week.”

I extorted myself from my flashback and back to present time.

“Good for you Casey, most people don’t share that much in their first meeting.” I congratulated Casey and moved on to Jordan. “How do you think you could ‘wipe your slate clean’ as they say?”
I put air quotes around ‘wipe your slate clean’.

“I guess I could apologize?” He suggested.

“Jordan, how long have you been in this group?”

“ Umm…. About a year now, I think.”

“ You have been in this group for a year now and you should know by then that even though apologizing does help, there is so much more you could do.” I gave him a chance to list everything else.

Just as Jordan was about to state the other helpful actions, we heard a pounding on the door. I looked at the senior and junior men in our youth group and motioned for them to follow me. I looked at Isabel and William, they knew that they were the most ‘leadership worthy’ of the whole group. It was time to put them to the test.

I gestured for the guys to follow me and we crept to the door. There was another pounding on the front entrance so I had Daniel and Michael go in front of me and the rest of the group. I glanced at the rest of the guys. All I could see was broad shoulders and football faces. Faces ready to fight. Jaws clenched, eyebrows furrowed.

We moved forward to the stairs. As we started up the stairs, the pounding on the door was getting more frequent and it became harder. I allowed Jim and Chase to walk in front with Dan and Michael. The rest of the guys sort of encircled me. Almost like they something bad to happen to them, rather than having me suffer. They were my newly formed wall. My protection. And I appreciated it. I looked at all them and felt a new found friendship growing between us. In this moment of possible crisis, we were bonding.

By now, we had reached the top of the stairs. In front of us, stood the tiers of pews. Beyond that, the cross of Jesus Christ beckoned us father. As I had thought everyone, we simultaneously formed the Cross over our bodies. First, the forehead, and then to the left shoulder. Over to the right shoulder, and land on our hearts.

I would like to assume that everyone said a silent prayer. Something to the effects of hoping God would forgive us for all of our sins. Maybe, He would. I want to believe that He would personally great us to His heaven. To His world.

We moved along the pews, keeping heads down but preparing for anything. I know, I know. I am probably blowing this whole thing out of proportion, but a lot of things go through your mind when something like this is happening to you. Danny had moved to the tall doors and put his hand on the brass handle. He pulled and we all held our breath.

Just remember, always land on your heart.



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