It happened at one of those ridiculous youth group meetings. The preacher-in-training was young and dynamic and we all gathered around him. We were there because our parents didn’t want us to end up lost.
And yet, I had watched it happen twice before. They started out fragile and ended up fanatic, wandering in the halls at school with a bible on top of their books, staring bug-eyed when they talked about the dangers they saw in everything not found on the short list of sanctioned activities they kept posted inside their lockers.
On that sunday, the young preacher-in-training was asking questions. Getting to know each other under God’s umbrella, that’s what he called it. He asked a question and we all had to answer, a circle of verbal dominos he pushed into falling.
The last question made us giggle. “What do you do when you are alone in the dark?” The answers ranged from true, “I sleep,” to kiss-ass, “I praise God freely.” As he made his way around the circle, I tried to prepare my answer. But when it was my turn, I couldn’t stop myself. I tried, I really did, to say something else, anything else. But I couldn’t. I told them, I told them all what I did alone in the dark.
The silence spoke next and I knew that I was the only one to hear its whispers.
You will never be lost. Not here, not anywhere.