As we grew, and our juvenile years took us all the way into teenage angst, our clique survived—once you create a clique in church, it’s quite hard to get out of it—it’s like a gang in this way. Before we’d occasionally hang out with the other kids because their parents made them—that’s what good Christian’s did, they found pity groups to take on as projects; as the other groups grew, they no longer had to do as their parents said, which was fine by us, because we never liked be someone else’s project anyway.
It is in your teenage years that you really see who your friends are; when all innocence is removed and you stick by each others side in spite of the differences in choices that you make.
Mike didn’t have the choices I had. His home was hard and most saw his destiny was to follow in the footsteps of his loser siblings; people like him did not succeed. Unfortunate for Mike, he wasn’t strong-willed enough to prove these people wrong. He got a girl pregnant much too early, and dropped out of school not long after. Despite his flaws, he was in my clique, and, like I said, you stick by each others sides despite the choices that you make.
I have had scoliosis (curve of the spine) all of my life; when I was sixteen, it had got so severe that my back was curving into my lungs; I had two choices: surgery or a life of disability. I obviously picked the first choice. The surgery lasted nearly ten hours and was complete with complicates soon after (my lungs collapse a few days later). When I was alert enough to take more visitors then just my parents, the minister appeared, and by his side was Mike, who had insisted someone drive him to the hospital so he could see me.
I was in the hospital for two weeks; in that time Mike, who had responsibilities far greater then visiting a friend in the hospital, found ways to get the hospital often—despite having no car and the hospital being forty minutes away. I went to the churches youth group often, and knew many of the teens there well—many of them I had known since I was old enough to talk. And yet Mike was the only youth from the church who came to visit me; not event the youth pastor who was paid to minister to the youth full-time, made the trip.
A few days after I had left the hospital, I had got a card in the mail. It was from the churches youth group. Collectively they decided they would send many a get well soon card. I knew the card had been a great inconvenience for them, when some of the one line notes, spelt my name wrong.