Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saving the world is hard, saving one small person is impossible.

"Low cards are what I've got
But I'll play this hand whether I like it or not."

Pay in Blood by Bob Dylan

I have a friend who works in education that told me a story, a very troubling story. A story of a young girl overcoming difficult odds, struggling and fighting for a better life. Making her way through a maze of obstacles that would cripple many. She managed to get her footing in treacherous water, until the people who are supposed to protect her came rushing in to save her from success.

This girl, we will call her Amy was a good student. Working toward her future. But, her Mother had a stroke, and Amy was caught between a hard place and a worse place. With her Mother locked into a crippled body and unable to provide for her daughter.

Amy persevered. She got a job, working forty hours a week. Rented a rundown little apartment, and bought a crappy little car. It wasn't much, but it was all Amy could afford. She couldn't afford the insurance, but she is young, and struggling and hope springs eternal in the young. She rolled the dice, and drove.

Her car broke down, and still Amy made it to school. Her friends got their parents to pay for the repairs, it was a touching display of camaraderie. It was, to this humble blogger, a miracle.

One day the nursing home called and told Amy that they were releasing her Mother, who is unable to care for herself. Amy was lost, and had no idea what to do next. Eventually sanity swept briefly into Amy's life and the facility relented. But, through the madness and fear Amy never missed school.

Clearly Amy takes her education seriously. Maybe, though, there is more to it than that, maybe it was a place Amy found comfort and affection. In a world that seemed hostile, cold and cruel, school was a place Amy could feel in charge.

But, the courts came in and saved Amy. Saved her from her rundown little apartment, and her frail little car. Placing Amy in a foster home, with six other children, taking her car and leaving her at the mercy of a woman who makes a living caring for the needs of foster children.

And this child, this jewel of determination, grit and promise has missed a day and a half of school. What unkind circumstance and terrible circumstance could not do, make Amy miss school, the courts could easily accomplish.

Administrators and teachers are rallying, writing letters, but, courts are rocks of determination. I will ask my friend about Amy but it is very uncomfortable. I am not sure there is a solution to Amy's problem, but there are dozens of stories like this. Maybe if we find the voice to make enough noise we can save some of them.