Eric rolled over in bed and sighed. Eventually he slipped out of bed quietly and shuffled into his office. With his head in his hands he waited for his computer to come to life. Thoughts were swirling around him as he tried to make sense of everything.
Laughter filled the room as the small group of young teens played what Pastor Eric called the M&M game. Each color of the M&M’s represented a different type of memory. The youth would pull a candy piece out of the bag without looking and had to share a memory that the color represented.
Susan, Eric’s wife, had pulled a red M&M. Red M&M meant she had to share an embarrassing memory. Susan had shared, in her animated colorful way, about the time she had a slight incident that involved a skirt hem and a slip waistband issue that didn’t get remedied before leaving the ladies room. Combine this with a missionary speaker following her out of the restaurant and you have the perfect red M&M story.
Eric started an email to his mentor and former youth pastor.
Hey Pastor Steve, it’s been a long time since we have connected. I played the M&M game tonight with my youth group. That sounds odd to even say ‘My youth group’. I shared with my students about you. You were my orange M&M. Remember the orange one? It represents a memory of someone important to you.
Michelle, a quiet dark haired girl in the eighth grade held her blue M&M and with eyes wide asked if she could choose another color. Susan put her arm around her and told her that we all loved her and she could share her blue M&M memory openly.
Blue M&M is a sad memory. Michelle took a deep breath and plunged in.
“My sad memory is the day my mom left me at the child protective services office and never even looked back to see if I was crying. I was six years old and I haven’t cried since.” Michelle popped the M&M in her mouth and looked to her right, “Val has a brown M&M. Share your favorite vacation, Val.”
I remember playing the M&M game when I was a teen. You know what, Steve? I had no idea how revealing the answers the students give are. I guess as a youth, I didn’t realize what your purpose was for playing this game other than a time to laugh at everyone’s stories. I only remember dead pet stories for sad memories. I learned so much about my group tonight. More than that, I learned a lot about myself. I don’t think I am ready to be a youth pastor. How do I handle all their problems? What do I say to ease them through their tough times?
Eric rubbed the stubble on his face he called a goatee and swallowed hard as Jason quietly proclaimed his orange M&M, his important person memory.
“Pastor Eric is my important person.” Jason averted his eyes and nervously fiddled with a lip ring with his tongue, “Because he accepts me for who I am.”
Tears welled up as Eric continued his email.
I need to spend some time in prayer right now, but can we meet for coffee soon? I would really love to re-establish a relationship with you. I think I need to make more orange M&M memories with you. Let me know what your schedule is like.
Hope to hear from you soon,
Tired and emotionally drained, Eric eventually headed back to bed. He paused at the kitchen table and dumped the remainder of the M&M’s into a bowl. Fishing through them, he separated all the orange ones into a sandwich bag. He would save these and give them to Pastor Steve as a memory making moment of his own when they connected for coffee soon.
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