Once upon a time there was a little girl living just three and a half miles south of a small town. She dreamed big dreams and had grand plans. One day, she would be a drummer in a rock band or maybe a trucker.
She grew up just a short distance from her friends. She played in tree rows, she rode her bike along the road to eat ice cream and share her dreams with her friends.
She and those very same friends went to school in that small town. It was in that small school where something was growing inside each of them that would stay with them forever. Pirate Pride and a sense of community.
This young girl learned what it was like to do something for others. She learned what it was like to have others do things for you.
She walked down the street in the snow with her friends as they said farewell to one boy’s older brother. The snow was falling, it was cold, but that day they were together on main street in that small town. Growing.
This girl, and her friends rode their bikes short distances for fun and greater distances to make a difference. It was in this small town, this community, that they joined a bike-a-thon and rode their bikes 6 miles out and back to raise money for kids in hospitals and for research to end a disease. Growing.
She participated in the St. Jude’s Math-a-thon in her classroom among her friends and peers with the support of her teachers to make a difference in the fight against childhood cancers. Growing.
She collected coins in a small box as a part of an effort at church to end hunger. Growing.
Did it seem like a big deal to her? Did she think she was changing the world? At the time, not really. She was just being a kid and growing up in a small town where people reach out and do what they need to do to make a difference.
This community she grew up in, this small town with all its charm, helped mold her into the person she is today. The Pirate Pride that was growing inside of her is something that will never fade away. In fact, as time passes, the pride seems to grow.
She now lives in a small town just down the road a bit from her ‘small town’ home. Knowing she came from a time and place where people mattered and doing what we can to make even the smallest bit of difference is what pushes her to instill that same pride in her children.
A sense of giving and doing and trying to matter in this world is what makes the heart grow and the pride in a community even greater. At times, it may seem this bigger town isn’t quite sure they can make a difference. They people are not sure they have enough time, energy, or resources to give. This is a struggle for that small town girl to see. Why not just do small things? Why not just try a little bit.
But then, she thinks back and knows in her heart that she lives in a community that does give, that does care, and that does know how to make a difference and that people, no matter where they are from or who they are, MATTER. She lives in a town that sometimes needs a little nudge but once they are moving forward, they give it all they’ve got!
A community where kids have lemonade stands on their birthdays. They raise money for family’s who have nothing after a fire and to support the Relay For Life instead of for themselves.
A community where people gather in the streets to eat pancakes and sausage while raising money for a fire fighter fighting cancer.
A community where wishes are granted for a student needing a new kidney and welcoming him and his family within a short time of living there.
A community with graduates who are making a huge difference and granting more wishes than we could ever imagine.
For children so small all they dream of is petting the animals.
A community where something as small as wearing a certain color can show how much love and support you have for someone!
And buying a bracelet shows kids that little kids get sick and fight back too.
Where stopping your day to ride a bike a few miles with another amazing graduate (from years gone by) can make a difference to children in Uganda.
A community where a small blue bracelet tells someone who moved here from a bigger town that we are praying so hard for a miracle.
Where children brave the cold weather to tell of the birth of the biggest Giver of all!
Where people come running to support kids going abroad to sing and play instruments.
Where the simple act of tying a ribbon on your neighbor’s tree let’s them know their loved one will never be forgotten.
A community that rallies around a family down the road a short distance…
… that’s the small town for me.