The following poem tells the story of a special night on a retreat that I helped lead for middle school and high school students. Each student approached a solitary mic stand without pretense but with maturity and courage and spoke vulnerably of past hurts, like gang violence, suicide, divorce, and illness.
A single mic stand
accompanied only by a single candle steadily burning
A sea of young faces staring at this lonely mic stand.
waiting for magic.
A boy steps forward.
Silence like that of a funeral procession
Death was present but its close relative dread was no where to be found.
Death was sought.
Not physical but emotional.
Stripping one’s soul, dying to others’ judgments.
Stories never told flowed like a treacherous river.
With each confession a new stream birthed from young kids’ eyes.
Then the magic.
Stepping away the boy was now a man.
The, no longer lonely, mic stand had a new companion.
With each child a new burden lay next to the mic.
As each stepped away, heart still racing but the weight gone.
United as the burdens looked similar heaped next to such a lonely mic stand.
Yet no burden the same.