Wishful Thinking

God knows we’ve been patient
First it was the emails and texts
We wondered what had gotten into her
We weren’t even sure what she was talking about:
“Structural adjustment programs”
“The preferential option”
“Systemic violence”

We were glad she was learning something
We just weren’t sure what it was
Then the spring break trip
Not to Gulf Shores
But to Appalachia
We scratched our heads over that one

And then the theology classes
Leading to a double major
In that and social work
We asked her
“Do you think you could possibly spend five minutes
Thinking about the word practical?”

And then the summer before the semester abroad
All she did was practice Spanish
To get ready for her “immersion”
We thought if she was going to study a language
She could have at least done German
Since that’s half our family

And then she came back from Latin America
And questioned everything–
The church, the government, the university–
Even us!
After a couple of months she calmed down
But she sure knew how to spoil a Sunday dinner

And then her senior year
She spent so much time in one of those neighborhoods
Rather than doing what regular college students do
We told her it wasn’t safe
And that she should use her common sense
But she’d smile and say, “Don’t worry, it’s cool”

At last she’s now finishing that year of service
Or whatever she called it, “solidarity,”
And we’re finally breathing a sigh of relief
We’re looking forward to seeing her get a job and meet a nice person
Now that she’s got this whatever out of her system

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