By Lorry Myers
She gave a small speech when she announced her plans and then handed over the paperwork. My youngest daughter wanted to travel with her youth group to a work camp on an Indian reservation far from home. There in the middle of nowhere teenagers from all over America would work together to revitalize a community by painting and repairing old homes.
My daughter was all fired up.
This is Mariah, the child that frets over still animals along the highway and worries after beggars on the side of the road. The girl that cries over things she can’t fix but believes she can fix anything. The child with a tender heart who steadfastly lives by the quiet, stubborn, belief, that one person can make a difference.
Now, she thinks she can change the world.
Her father studied the paperwork but wasn’t giving in that easy. He questioned the cost and what those dollars could do in her own hometown. He told her about blisters from hammers and sweat from the hot sun, and finally, would it really be worth it to pay all that money and travel that far just to make a difference?
Mariah had expected that.
She knew that her dad would question her so she had prepared a little history lesson about where they were going. She talked about the power of people working together for a common goal. She added statistics and percentages to prove why she was needed; how on an Indian reservation, one person really could make a difference. Mariah rehearsed her speech to sound just like the credit card commercial, breaking down the value of each dollar, setting a price to her dream.
So, we signed the permission forms, the rest was up to her.
All yearlong she washed cars and served Sunday dinners and sold stuff that we bought and before we knew it, the money was raised and she was gone.
Montana is a long way from home.
We worried and wondered and waited all week. When you send a child so far from home, nothing seems normal. You calculate time and distance, just in case, and worry when the phone rings. I thought about my young daughter out in the world, and wondered who would guard her gentle spirit from getting bruised and soft heart from getting broken. Then I waited, waited to see if the same person I sent away would be the same person that came back home.
For the complete column, please see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.