White mushroom clouds decorate a deep blue sky and a strong gusty wind whips and tangles Ammie’s long dark hair. The summer trees bend so deeply they seem to bow to the warm earth in all true sincerity while a few leaves blow carelessly away. The green blades of grass move about continually almost like . . . like an endless wave upon the sea. The open fields are scattered with black eyed susans whose bright faces seem to smile at the world.
Black-eyed Susan’s! They are Ammie’s favorite flower. Some of her most enjoyable hours are spent out in the wide field picking these flowers and humming to herself. Her beautiful tan face would light up with a smile when she proudly walked up the front steps into the kitchen and laid the flowers on the table. Mother would always find a vase, fill it with water and put the flowers in it. She took good care of them until they would wilt and die.
About two years later Ammie started school. Every morning she would walk alone one half mile to her bus stop. She carried her flowered lunch pail in her right hand and swung it gently at her side. At the same comer where Ammie waited each morning was also another bus that stopped and picked up five neighbors who went to Greenville Public School, which was located about five miles from where Ammie lived. But Ammie went to Lakewood Christian School, which was about nine miles front her home. She was very excited about going to school and thought it was it lot of fun. Each day when Ammie came home she would tell her mother about the bus ride, her many different friends and what they had done in school that day.
As time passed, Ammie seemed to become less enthused about school and she didn’t talk about it as much as she did in the past. Some mornings she did not even want to go to school but wanted to stay home and do the things she used to do. Mother always helped that a little though. She would ask Ammie about her friends and the things she did in school. Somehow Mother always made it all seem exciting and fun yet; still Ammie did not seem to enjoy school.
No one could understand Ammie until one day she told her mother why she wanted to stay home. She said that every morning while waiting for the bus, the five neighbors would make fun of her and call her names. She explained that they did not like her because she went to a different kind of school. They would mock the school she went to and say funny things about it.
Ammie does not quite understand all this and she cannot begin to comprehend why she is so different just because she attends a different school. But as time passes Ammie will learn; she will slowly learn how to put the puzzle together. She will discover what kind a puzzle it is and will eventually find how she fits in. When she graduates from one grade to the next, as she lives one day after another, when she goes from school into a world of jobs, she will understand. As Ammie becomes older she will understand more completely her “difference.” Her spare time will not involve the same things as others her age. She will not spend her summer vacations on the beach the same way she sees many others spend it. She will not be able to accept every invitation that is offered to her and she will in no way be able to accept any job that offers her a position. Ammie will find herself unable to laugh, smile and enjoy what seems to be fun to others. She will find beauty where others can see no beauty, good where to some it is only bad and love where there seems to be affliction.
Some young people today are looking into their Junior High school days and others into their High School years. Some are preparing for a college education and others are seeking a job where they can do their best. There are those building a future on marriage and those who have married. Families are being born and there are friends who are dying. Many have been learning for years what it means to be different and it has never become less of a feeling. Rather it increases as time passes. As members of one Christian community we must pray for the strength to maintain our difference.
Oh yes, right now Ammie feels quite badly but life will go on and teach. She will discover again and again that life is not always a field of daises in warm sunlight, and that the sounds of footsteps are not always sounds of excitement and happiness. She will learn that voices do not always echo in joy.
Well, darkness has overtaken the powerful light of the sun and the earth stands in perfect silence. The night dew has dampened the earth and the moonlight rides upon land. The daises are still standing but they have lifted their petals and are now standing closed to the world.