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I sat beside you in church today
by christine joan badal
07/05/06
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My heart is going haywire as I approach the building. Its white steeples and beautiful garden beckon me to draw closer, perhaps it knows of the silent war raging inside me? I swallow the lump that threatens to close my airways and let out a big sigh. With squared shoulders, I get inside the dimly lit entry.

I scan the seats and notice you sitting at the rear end of the church. You are with three other girls from school and seeing familiar faces somehow eases the anxiety in me. I take the seat next to you. I hesitate in calling you, and wait for you to meet my eyes. But you seem busy. You laugh and tease with the other girls, the same girls I see you with everyday in school, and in our Bible studies after class.

How I long to be one of you. How I long to laugh and shrug my shoulders the way you do it, as though by doing so, all your cares are gone. I long for you to be my friend, to tell you my fears, to tell you of the trembling I feel every time the front door slams shut and hearing the muzzy voice of my father, waking my mother. Oh and the blows, and the muffled cries which can still be heard despite the deafening pounding of my heart. I long to have a friend who, even if I donít tell you of the unlucky times that I am outside of my locked room when father comes home reeking of sweat and alcohol, and can see that the bruises on my arms and the occasional arm casts are not caused by my clumsiness.

Still you go on, oblivious of the painful longing that is surely reflected in my eyes. I really want to call out to you, but I doubt if you even remember me from the Bible study sessions. I have always been the girl at the back row. I am the wallpaper, unnoticed and unseen by all. I stand and make my way out of church. I hear your giggles carried by the wind. A tear falls from my eyes. I make my way home, alone.


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Sharlyn Guthrie 05 Jul 2006
Very thought-provoking! This would make such a good intro to a Youth Group or Sunday School lesson. "Cliques" exist everywhere, even in our churches (even among adults!). It's easy to get caught up in the safety of our close friends and ignore the needs of others.




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