“STOP!”

Oh, to have said even that one word!

Marilyn Flower

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It’s Youth Sunday at our metaphysical church. The teens have sung and rapped and prayed to great acclaim and gone back to their room for a break. I stay and listen to the minister’s sermon knowing my cohorts, Barry* and Franklin* are back there with the teens maintaining order.

As soon as the talk is over I head down the long hall towards the teen room, ready to help out with whatever’s needed. I have laryngitis, but I feel well enough to handle the busy event, and besides, some of our best volunteers, the ones with teenage kids aren’t there today.

I enter the room to “ — and furthermore, you’re being an asshole right now!” Sarah,* one of the mothers, but not a member of our team yells at the kids about some infraction.

She grabs 16 year old Monique,* gets in her face, and they tussle. Monique runs into the bathroom with Sarah in hot pursuit. Sarah drags her out and they tussle and wrestle some more.

Say something! Do something! I scream silently at myself. Short of being able to yell STOP!!! Get up and go over there and get between them! Break it up before someone gets hurt. After all, I am in charge.

I just stand there, frozen. Barry and Franklin must be, too as they do zilch.

We’re in shock. This isn’t happening. Not in our church. Our church that preaches and teaches non-violence and open communication and enforcing and respecting personal space and boundaries. None of us move.

Eventually a woman with some street smarts hears the commotion, pops in and separates the two, taking Sarah out of harm’s way.

Then we find out, Sarah went off on Monique because she left the church and went to McDonald’s four blocks up the street. Monique says she knew she shouldn’t do that but Calib* dragged her.

Calib, no longer anywhere around, is one the older kids in the youth jazz band, another program here, that also plays in the services on Youth Sunday.

We didn’t resolve it that day. It was a long, exhausting one even before this incident. The service was over so the kids could leave with their families and we’d sort this out by next week.

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Marilyn Flower

Writer, sacred fool, improviser, avid reader, novel forthcoming, soul collage facilitator, prayer warrior and did I say writer? https://linktr.ee/marilynflower