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Leaning on Faith
Leaning on Faith
Looking at it from the outside, it seemed like an ordinary church. It sat on a small hill, and was white, with a tall steeple and a cross. I opened the door. Greetings and “How are you” s filled the little church with welcoming voices. I took notice to everything as I walked in. Although the outside was ordinary, the inside was amazing! The pipe organ stood tall and glistened in the sun light. The dark wooden pews were long and new-looking hymnals were lined in racks in every row. The intricate mosaic pictures in the ceiling, windows, and doors were marvelous and so precise! I sat in the very back row and slouched down in my seat, hoping I would not be noticed. Every time the huge oak doors opened, I got as tense and nervous as ever. I really didn’t think I would know anyone; I just wanted to be able to sit through the service without stares and whispers towards me. This was one time I wished I could be invisible. I was relieved when the doors opened and closed for the last time. I could finally sit up and get into a more comfortable position.
Music started and the congregation stood and sang something out of the blue hymnals. I had no idea what was going on other than the obvious; me standing there, looking like an idiot because I really had no idea what they were singing but at least I tried to make it seem like I knew what I was doing. Sitting in the back had its advantages. While I was “singing” I decided to take this time to observe everyone else and marvel at the beautiful little church. Before I looked around, I made sure no one was watching just in case I looked like a freak, staring wide-eyed and excited like a child opening presents on Christmas morning. I scanned the room and stopped when I saw a boy looking back at me; there wasn’t anything else back there except the door, and I could only guess he was not looking at that. I figured, out of embarrassment that I caught him looking, he’d turn back around. I held his gaze for what felt like five minutes until I figured he wouldn’t give up and I could feel my face turning cherry red. I waited until the song ended to back up again. I casually played with my hair and snuck a glance in his direction just in time to see him turn around. I decided not to look in his direction again; just look straight forward. We were seated and the sermon began. The pastor opened with a situation he was in. Long story short, he was dating this girl for 4 months but in their last few weeks, he had a feeling something wasn’t right. He somehow knew she wasn’t part of God’s plan for his life. He came to a conclusion that with God’s help, he learned the importance of putting Him first in the relationship. He read 1 John 4:19 ‘We love because God loved us first.’ He discussed the meaning of that scripture and talked about ways to put God in the center of the relationship. I flipped through the hymnal and realized I had stopped paying much attention when the congregation stood for the last song.
As soon as the organ and piano stopped, I quickly made my way to the vestibule however a tall man stopped me before I could make a break for the door.
“Hello! I don’t think I got the chance to introduce myself. I’m Pastor Bear. I don’t remember seeing you this morning. Is this your first time here? I haven’t seed you around this part of town” he stated.
“Hi. I’m Emily. Yes, this is my first time here and I live beside the dance studio down the street” I said quickly.
“Hello Emily! Where are your parents? Didn’t they drive you?” he question, guessing that I wasn’t old enough to own a car much less drive one.
“Um… it’s just me and my mom. She didn’t come. I walked here, ” I explained.
“Walked? From the dance studio? That doesn’t sound like a fun start on a Sunday. I’ll drive you home. I -”
“No, no” I interrupted. “I’m fine. Plus the weather’s great! I’ll be fine” I said in the most reassuring voice I could find.
“Oh well. I hope you’ll come Wednesday night to the Bible study or youth group downstairs. They start at 7:30” he said persuasively, “I’m glad you came Emily.”
“Ok” was all I could say. At least I sounded a little promising. I noticed someone coming. “Bye!” I said and bolted out the door. I didn’t stop running until I got to the back of the church wishing no one saw me come back here. But just in case, I sat cross-legged on the opposite side of a thick oak tree. As I waited for people to leave, I thought about my grandmother and how she’d take me to her church. I remembered how much I hated going with her during the summer and how much I hated sitting still when hot air moved in and out of the opened windows. I missed her a lot more than I thought. I jolted back into the world around me when I heard leaves getting kicked and trampled on behind me. All the muscles in my body tightened. All of a sudden they stopped.
“Hmm” a deep voice said. I listened closely and heard its breathing.
“Sam! Are you coming? We’re leaving now” a woman’s voice bellowed.
“No. You go on, I’m gonna hang around here, maybe go to the park later” the man replied.
“Oh! I’ll stay here with you! We could go to the park together!” the woman said excitedly.
“No, no. I don’t think I’ll be much fun. I was just gonna walk around and rest. Nothing exciting” he said.
“Okay. If you’re sure. I don’t mind, really” she promised.
“Goodbye!! See ya later.” he stated.
“Bye!! I’ll call you later! Maybe we can go somewhere tomorrow after school!” she replied.
“Okay. Goodbye!” he said. I guessed she had left because I could hear him breathing again and the birds chirping.
“Hmm. Blondie has now left the lot!” he laughed. I let out a quiet laugh.
“Huh? Who’s there? Brit, if that’s you, I’ll get you! You can’t hide, you know I’ll find you!” he said meaningfully. I let out another small laugh.
“I’m serious Brit!! I’ll get you!! If you don’t come out, I’ll – I’ll - I’ll send Chelsea to video tape you dancing in the bathroom and we’ll show everyone in church! I’m serious! Come out NOW!!” I let out all the laughs I was holding in at once. A pair of black Nike Shocks were planted right beside me. I looked up and saw him. It was the same boy that won the stare down in church earlier. “Who are you and why do you think this is so hilarious?” he asked.
“Um. You really don’t like her do you?” I laughed.
“No. I. Don’t. Why didn’t you tell me you were the one laughing? I thought she was spying on me!” he said.
“Well, you were really into it and I didn’t want to scare you. Sorry.” I said after I stopped laughing.
“Gee, thanks” he replied sarcastically. I slowly sat back down and played with a blade of grass.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“Yea. I’m fine. Why?” I asked.
“Oh nothing. Just that you’re still here and any normal person would have walked away by now. Plus I’m a bit surprised you decided to come here and not home since you practically burst out the doors on your sprint out. I figured you weren’t coming back. Most people or should I say parents with kids our age don’t come back. How old are you anyways? I don’t think you would have walked here if you owned a car” he said.
“I’m 14. And for your information, I actually liked the service” I said. I paused making sure I answered his questions. “So, exactly how many people saw me dart out of there?” I asked.
“Only…well, there was me and him and that guy and his wife and…” he said. I started panicking when he kept going. “I’m joking! I’m the only one that saw, ok?” he assured me. “So, still think you’ll come back? I mean…you probably don’t know yet but I was just wondering and...”
“Yes, I will” I interrupted. I turned and started down the hill.
“Wait! I never got your name!” he hollered. I stopped and turned towards him.
“It’s Emily” I replied.
“Hope you’ll come Wednesday Emily!” he yelled back.
“Okay” was all I could say. I wasn’t sure I could go but I’d try to make it. My walk home was really comforting. Hardly any cars drove by. There were no screaming kids running up and down the streets; they were probably still in bed. Mom’s neighbor, Mr. Zachariah, was out retrieving his newspaper in one hand and his coffee in his other.
“Good morning Bell!” he said. When I first moved in with my mom, I was around 9, and I’d run to his doorstep with snacks my mom and I baked. I would stand there and keep ringing the doorbell until he opened the door. We used to spend hours together picking out a sound for it. He was like a second dad to me, but around the age of a grandfather.
“Good morning!! How are you?” I asked.
“I feel wonderful!! I bet I could race ya around the block and win!” he laughed. “Oh well, nice weather we have today. See you later Bells!” he called.
“See ya!!” I called back. I walked inside our tiny-looking log cabin.
“Hi sweetie! Where were you?” Mom asked.
“I was just out for a walk in the park and I stopped at the Mini-Mart on the way back.” I said. “I’m gonna go upstairs.”
“Emily? Are you okay? You seem…different” mom question.
“I’m fine. Just a little tired. Are you ok?” I asked trying to change the subject.
“Yes. I think. You know, I …” her voice trailed off as I crept up the stairs. Nothing could get better than this! I was going to go back Wednesday night.