Dwight Wolter invites us to share with him this experience, his memory, the still-living beauty of his daughter Maya.
Sitting on a piano bench
talking to the children of the church,
bearing a burdensome backpack
bulging with school supplies.
I spoke of the burdens of school
as I removed & described each item:
books, pencils, rulers & erasers
almost too heavy to bear.
I removed a dictionary, nine pounds of words,
And a copy of Agatha Christie’s play, Black Coffee,
in which I once played a role.
A piece of paper fell, unacknowledged,
from the book to the floor beneath the piano.
After the backpack was emptied,
I spoke of other burdens children bear:
Not fitting-in, being bullied & belittled,
Wishing, perhaps, for a different family & body.
We are here to help you, I said to the children,
Come to us, let us come to you.
You are not the only lonely ones
Who carry faith in a backpack of hope.
Later, collecting my stuff from the chancel,
I picked up the piece of paper beneath the piano
on which was posted a St. Petersburg, Florida,
newspaper clipping, stating,
“Maya Wolter, age six, is declared an “Every Day Hero”
for donating her eyes and heart to other children.”
An unexpected stab to my heart,
one of countless so inflicted,
followed by a blessed realization
that through my daughter’s lifeless body
one child has been restored to vision and
two young hearts beat anew because of her.
Unwittingly, I had carried her backpack of hope
into a sanctuary of faith.
Thanks for the visit, sweet little Maya.
Until we meet again…
Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter
Patchogue (Long Island) New York