All Bones and Baby Fat
by Charlotte Johnstone
On any given Sunday at Forbearance, there are usually a number of them scattered here and there in the pews—young people on the magical mystery tours of their adolescence. Thirteen-, fourteen-, fifteen-year-olds with agendas that don’t include being stuck beside their parents, deprived of their iPods and unable, for the moment, to check their cell phones for text messages. Good kids, really, from solid families, but at this stage of their lives they’re afflicted with twitchy urgencies, slouchy spines, restless priorities and protesting sighs. Jeremy stands for hymns, but makes his point by not singing. Katy affects glacial boredom and yawns a lot. Andy endures the sermon, elbows on knees, head in hands. Melissa inches away from her mother to droop despondently over the end of a pew.
Their parents pretend not to notice. Hoping to preserve family dignity, they avert their eyes and consider it a small triumph that their hormone-beset children have even agreed to appear in public with them. They mercifully recognize that, through no particular fault of their own, they have become, for this period of their children’s lives, a source of embarrassment—relics, really, who can’t possibly understand or remember the painful intricacies of negotiating pubescent angst. It’s a dicey time for both parents and children—one step forward, two steps back, twists and turns, speed bumps and detours.
Will Forbearance be able to withstand the sighs and huffs of adolescence? Will the teenagers parents withstand also? Find out in the January/February 2007 issue of Horizons.
Call (800) 524-2612 or subscribe to Horizons or order the January/February 2007 issue (HZN-07-200; $4 plus shipping).
Charlotte Johnstone is a member of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She (and the cast of Forbearance Presbyterian Church) welcomes comments. Write to her at Horizons, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202-1396, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Catherine Latson.
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