Setting and Conflict
Leah stood in the back of the room contemplating on where to sit. As she gazed around she was excited and intimidated with so many people. She went through this every Wednesday night at youth group. Every week the girl would tell herself to be brave and sit with some of the other girls she desperately wanted to be friends with but when the time came she did not have the courage or she waited too long to get a space in the row. Most nights now Leah just gave in to her fear and sat in one of the back rows. Those nights either one of the leaders would take pity on her and sit next to her or she would end up next to some kids who would rather whisper and giggle through the lesson instead of listen. Did she have the courage? Not tonight, she gave in again. As Leah slid into the second to last row she wondered why this happened to her not only in youth group but also at her school classes. She did great one-on-one with people or with small groups she knew, but in a crowd she was ignored.
"Hi, is anyone sitting here?" a cheerful voice asked. Leah looked up and saw Megan, one of the leaders smiling down at her.
"No, I guess not," Leah responded still deep in thought.
"How's your week? Is school going good? I don't think I saw you in Sunday school last Sunday." Megan inquired. The common questions Leah had come to expect were asked. How should she respond? Leah looked at Megan trying to decide whether she truly cared or was just being a polite leader doing her job. No it actually seemed like Megan wanted to be her friend.
Leah tried to answer the questions honestly but had a hard time giving too much detail, "It's been a long week but I'm doing okay. School and work tend to be tiring, I have a lot to do. As for Sunday school I don't go because I'm working with Children's Ministry Sunday mornings." I guess I do have some friends in Sunday school Leah thought, even if they are only five or six, they will love anyone. Just as Megan began to ask another question Josh the youth pastor walked to the front to welcome everyone. Leah took her cue and walked around the side of the room and then up to the front and took her place behind a microphone. One of her musical passions besides playing the piano was singing with the youth band for her high school group. As with any type of music, Leah was able to escape reality for the ten minutes she was on stage doing the background vocals.
"That was great. I didn't know you were on the worship team," Megan whispered as Leah sat back down after worship.
"Thanks, I love to do it," Leah responded politely. Another person I am invisible to thought Leah. She had been on the worship team for the past year singing almost every week. Would anyone ever know who she really was?
"Tonight we are going to be talking about friendship. What is a friend? How do you pick true friends? And how can you be a friend?" Josh's voice broke through Leah's thoughts causing her to jerk up as the lesson started.
"Great, this is what everyone needs to hear," Leah muttered to herself but as the lesson started she was proved drastically wrong. As the lesson went on Leah soon realized that everyone else didn’t need this talk, she did. How could she forget about all the people who were friendly to her? Every female leader knew her by name and said hi to her each week. There were several nurses she new that where always happy to talk to her about what to expect in nursing school and give her all the tips should could want. There were the kids who knew her as Miss Leah and were thrilled to see her and talk to her every time they saw her. There was the worship team who encouraged her to be on the team and thanked her for coming in each week to practice. There was Krista who would listen to her talk for hours and would laugh and cry with her. And there was her mom who would quietly encourage and guide her. The reason Leah thought that she had no friends was because she was not being a friend to others. She had built a wall around her with fear. She was the one that needed to open up and start to include others in her life. After the lesson ended, Leah stood up with an ear-to-ear grin as she looked around the room at all the people she could befriend, not all the people who needed to befriend her. The world was full of opportunities but Leah had to step out to take hold of her chances.