By Ben |

I wrote this after attending one of my last YRUU conferences (which were then called "rallies" in Southwest District) as a youth. To attend the Dallas Rally, I had to drive an hour from Bartlesville to Tulsa, then ride 5 hours to Dallas in a 15-passenger van full of other teens and luggage. It was worth it.


Traveling south
    on Friday evening
    our spirits are flying
    our souls already
        are halfway there.
With each mile
    we strip off some armor
        thick, heavy shells
        our friends help as
            the music peels it off us.
With each mile
    there is more room in the van
        as we discard our plates of lead.
The hours slip by under the wheels
    we should be tired
    we should need sleep
    but without our armor
        all we need is love
        and love is growing stronger by the mile.
At last we arrive
    with no armor at all
        our souls are naked
            and mingle together
        with each hug, each touch
            a little diffuses
            our joy and happiness spread
                like contagious diseases
                    of the soul.
In minutes the church has become
    a sanatorium for the sane
        in a sick and dying world.
Our armor stays off
    for thirty-six hours
    but soon we grow tired
        from exhaustion of joy
        we sleep in ones, twos,
            threes, and fives
            groups of primes
                of our lives.
And soon we must leave
    vowing to leave off our armor
        and believing ourselves
    believing each other
        that the person inside
            remains the same
                when the armor is on.
One last chance
    to share ourselves
    our souls return
        to their proper bodies
        leaving gaps and holes
            in each other
            gaps that were there before
                smaller now
                but now more painful.
And as we sleep
    on a northbound van
    the pieces of armor somehow return
        and clamp themselves on
        and bond with our being
        so that when we are home
            on Sunday evening
            we seem to be
                the same mundane creatures
                    that left on Friday.
And only a T-shirt remains to tell us
    it was not all a dream.