Music sparkled out through the auditorium sound system. An Angel breathed life into

the standing motionless girl. He gracefully swayed his arms and body while invisible strings

connecting him to the girl’s body caused her to move after him. He showed her how to breathe

and live; they danced together. Soon a dark Spirit waltzed her away, danced and left her. She

was beset with various people, each wordlessly peddling some elusive attraction like money,

alcohol, sex, “beauty.” At her acceptance, each new person enlarged the wall between her and

the Angel.

“These kids shouldn’t be watching this,” I thought as I sat with the group of 3rd-6th

graders that I had recently begun to help teach at church on Wednesday nights. We were

breaking our normal routine to watch a mime skit put on by an out-of-town youth drama team.

Although it was originally for the junior and senior high youth, the younger kids’ leaders had

decided that the 3rd-6th graders should watch it too. So we sat – twenty-some kids with three

leaders interspersed. Two energetic boys were on my right, and one reserved, affectionate girl

was on my left.

The music droned darker, heavier. The Angel was pushed farther behind the wall, away

from the girl. She tried to get to him eventually, but it was too late – they had become too strong

for her to push through. A black-robed monster appeared, offering her a knife. She didn’t want it.

He made slashing motions down his arm, forced the knife into her hand, left. She was noiselessly

crying and cutting.

“Where is this going?” I couldn’t drag my eyes away, yet I felt I should. I was there,

this was happening, but it had to stop. It had to. She would be OK. She was probably going to get

back to the angel next.

Relentless music pounds as they surround her. Climbing, crying, crawling, she can’t get

away. She is pushed and pulled in every direction – they overpower her, taking her to the ground.

The monster is back. The gun comes out. Shaking, trembling, not wanting to use it, but she must.

She holds it to her head, silently screams. She doesn’t want to kill herself, but why not? They all

show her she’s worthless; she’s followed their lies for life leading her to this death. No. Don’t do

it! But she can’t escape them. The gun is at her head for the second time. More shaking.

Her finger plays with the trigger. Throwing the gun down, she frantically runs toward the

Angel. They are all grabbing her, clawing her, killing her.

I couldn’t take it anymore. My eyes blurred and I looked down. I noticed Anna, the girl

next to me, her face covered in tears. Hugging her, I whispered that we should go. We

exited the auditorium after telling our leader, and entered a quiet room as I tried to repress my

own tears.

“Are you OK?” I ask.

“No.” She sniffs.

“Was it the gun?”

She nods. “My sister almost killed herself with a gun…”

I wonder what this fourth grader has gone through, how much of what we’d just seen

was familiar to her. I hardly knew her. She sits on my lap and we cry together. We talk about

it when she is ready. I tell her the gun wasn’t real, that the people were just acting. The leader

comes in later and expresses similar comforts. She tells me and Anna that we missed the end

of the skit when the Angel saved the girl.

But while Anna was comforted and settled down, I wasn’t. That “fake” gun was all too

real for me; it heightened my feeling, not just knowing, the horrors of the represented addictions,

greed, and eating disorders, their emptiness and destruction.  In my bubble of existence, my neat

little world so free from sorrows, I had never encountered the grim reality of addiction and


That night marked my entrance into a new world. Beginning to understand what

life without love was like, I saw the dying and heard the desperate call for life. My ears

had opened my eyes. My eyes hadn’t been shut before, they just hadn’t seen. Listening, I have

now watched people in my circle of the world run the gauntlet of addictions and potential

suicide. I hear the music around me, see the people. Swirling out over space, the cries for help

become a roaring crescendo as the people silently continue their deaths.