Savannah slipped into the last row of seats beside her best friend, Emily, just as Mrs. Jennings, the Sabbath school teacher, stood up to begin the program. Emily reached over and squeezed Savannah’s hand. “You look really happy,” Emily whispered.
Savannah nodded and gave Emily a thumbs-up.
Emily lowered her head so Mrs. Jennings couldn’t see her, and motioned for Savannah to do the same. “What’s up?” she asked.
Savannah knew that it was disrespectful to be talking while the teacher was speaking, but she also knew that Emily wouldn’t give up until she got some information. She lowered her head, thankful that Devon was sitting in the seat in front of her. He had the biggest head in the class.
“Dad got a job promotion!” Savannah whispered excitedly. “He’s sending me to summer camp. Shhh!” She placed her finger on her lips, which was the sign for “Don’t tell anybody.”
Emily nodded and held up her hand for a high five. Unfortunately, Mrs. Jennings had just asked if anyone wanted to share a prayer request or praise. “Emily, what’s on your mind this morning?” she asked. All eyes turned toward the two girls in the back row.
Surprised, Emily turned toward Savannah for help.
“What were you two just talking about?” Mrs. Jennings prodded.
“Savannah’s dad and his job promotion,” Emily blurted out.
Mrs. Jennings smiled. “Wonderful! We can pray about that.”
Oops, Savannah thought. I don’t think Dad wanted anyone to know about it yet!
The next weekend Savannah invited Emily for a sleepover at her house. After a video, popcorn, and drinks, Savannah turned off the light and crawled into bed. Emily sat straight up. “Don’t you have a night-light?” Her voice was so high that it sounded like one of her cat’s squeaky mouse toys.
“I don’t sleep well with a night-light on,” Savannah replied. “There’s a lamp beside you. Just flip it on if you need to get up.”
Emily seemed nervous. “Well, I don’t sleep well without a light,” she confessed.
“Don’t tell me you’re afraid of the dark!”
“Well, yeah, sorta. But promise me you won’t tell anyone. It’s kind of embarrassing.”
Savannah smiled. “Well, if you didn’t talk so much during Sabbath school, you might have learned that God is with us in the dark, too,” Savannah chided. She walked to the bathroom and flipped on the switch.
“Yeah, I know about God being with us even in the dark. Now, promise me you won’t tell anyone about this.”
“OK, OK—I promise.”
Savannah was just drifting off when Emily nudged her. “Are you asleep yet?”
“Not anymore,” Savannah said in an annoyed tone.
“Don’t you think Kevin is about the cutest boy you’ve ever seen? Don’t get me wrong—I don’t like him like a boyfriend,” Emily emphasized. “But don’t you think he’s cute?”
Savannah smiled, thankful that Emily couldn’t see her face. “Yes, he is cute.”
“All the girls like him,” Emily added.
“Probably.” Silence. “Think you can sleep now?” Savannah finally said.
Emily didn’t answer. Thoughts of Kevin must have rocked her into dreamland.
The next morning when the girls came down for breakfast, Savannah’s
mom stood at the stove flipping pancakes. “I saw your lights on this morning,” she commented, “but you were both asleep.”
“Emily’s afraid of the dark.” The words came out before Savannah could stop them. She turned toward Emily and found her little brother standing there wide-eyed. Emily’s face turned beet-red.
“I—I’m sorry,” Savannah whispered to her friend.
Emily said nothing.
Sabbath morning dawned clear and bright. This time Savannah hurried so she wouldn’t be the last one to Sabbath school again. Mrs. Strickland passed her in the hallway.
“Sorry to hear about your dad losing his job,” she said as she reached out to touch Savannah on the back.
Savannah stopped dead in her tracks. “What? My dad didn’t lose his job! He received a promotion.”
“Oh, really?” Mrs. Strickland replied. “I heard he lost his job. “ Savannah shook her head and kept walking. How did that rumor get started? she wondered.
Kevin was standing at the door of the classroom. They made eye contact briefly. Kevin quickly lowered his eyes and turned his head. That’s weird, Savannah thought. He’s usually so sweet and talkative. I wonder what’s up.
Emily sat with three other girls. Savannah hurried over and took the last seat beside them. The three girls looked at her and gave her fake smiles that said, “We know something about you.”
Savannah raised her eyebrows questioningly at Emily, who only glared at her and then turned to focus her attention on Mrs. Jennings. Savannah lowered her head and motioned for Emily to do the same. Once again she was glad that Devon with the big head was sitting in front of them.
“I’m listening to Mrs. Jennings,” Emily quietly snapped. “You know, so I won’t be afraid of the dark,” she added sarcastically.
“Get over it, Emily!” Savannah whispered back. “That was just a slip of the tongue. And my mom was the only one who heard me. “
“Yeah, right,” Emily replied hotly. “Your little brother told Jade’s little brother, who told Jade, and now it’s all over the school.”
Savannah groaned. “That was an accident! You know I didn’t intentionally spread it anywhere.”
“It still happened.”
“I’m sorry, Emily. I really am. Please forgive me.”
Emily sighed and nodded. “All right. But I’m still not very happy about it.”
“But who spread the lie that my dad had been fired?” Savannah asked. “Was that you?”
“No,” Emily said.
Devon turned around. “I heard you say that your dad received a demotion and he was sending you away.”
“I said a promotion, Devon!”
“Oh, sorry. You need to whisper louder. It’s hard to hear things behind me.” He turned back to the front, leaving Savannah and Emily with their mouths wide open.
Savannah hated to keep whispering, but she had one more mystery to solve. “Do you know what’s wrong with Kevin? He won’t even look at me.”
The girl sitting beside Emily joined in. “Maybe he got a little embarrassed when he found out you liked him,“ she whispered.
“What?” Savannah’s hand flew up to her head in surprise.
“Girls,” Mrs. Jennings said, “would you like to share with the class what you’ve been whispering about? Savannah, is that your hand I see? What do you have to praise God about today?”
was the one confused. It was as if the last week had been an endless game of “gossip”—someone whispering something to the person beside them, and then that person whispering what they think they heard to the person beside them. She’d played it many times, and the last person never heard correctly what the first person said. But then again, some people enjoyed twisting what they heard, while others, such as Savannah herself, dropped information without even realizing it.
“Go ahead, Savannah,” Mrs. Jennings coached. “Tell us what’s on your mind.”
“Well, um, I’m thankful that God is truth,” Savannah said. “A lot of gossip got spread around this week.” She looked directly at Kevin and then back at Emily and the three girls. “But hopefully my true friends will ask me before they believe everything they hear.”
“I’m sorry to hear things have been a little rough,” Mrs. Jennings replied. “No one enjoys being the object of gossip. Proverbs 16:28 says: ‘A gossip separates close friends.’ It’s kind of like that telephone game where one person whispers a fact to someone else. Would you like to play a quick game of it this morning?”
Devon raised his hand. “No offense, Mrs. Jennings, but I think we just played that game.”
Savannah and Emily looked at each other and burst out laughing. He was right, and they didn’t ever want to play the gossip game again.