Welcome to another week on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
I don't mean to bring a negative spirit to this post, yet I must affirm that plenty of sadness has been evident this past week.
One primary reason for such sadness is the loss of a woman who was dear to many people at Red Cloud. The Dean of Student's wife just passed on from cancer, and their daughter is one of my students. I am really feeling bad for the family, and so many others who found this woman an inspiration... as an auntie, sister, co-worker. I attended her wake (and sung in a choir with other members from Red Cloud) on Sunday. This was the first wake I have experienced here, and a wake is quite a momentous time of remembrance. Several elaborate cakes filled the tables, and food of all sorts abounded. Also, many star quilts hung as a backdrop for tables filled with pictures and flowers. A few different drum groups sang songs, in addition to a group with a guitar and singer.... The Jesuits also led a Catholic prayer service, during which we sang our songs.
The funeral was yesterday, but I wasn't able to go, since not everybody could leave school and all. In addition to this sadness, other students have expressed sadness at losing loved ones, and I really feel for loss, even when it's someone I didn't know well. Also, a good friend of mine recently found out about her grandmother's cancer, which is terrible news. The weather has also not boosted spirits much, being snowy, sleeting, dreary, etc.
Yet, despite all the sadness, several happy moments have occurred to bring sunshine to the week. Last Wednesday we had Lakota class, and it was quite fun, with only 5 students. We practiced constructing compound sentences (using easy words, but still!) :) And I felt as if I am really getting the hang of it... at least for a 1st level course. I will not be able to attend class tomorrow, sadly... because I will be going on the senior class retreat! :) (I'm not sad about the retreat!)
On Friday I drove the bus for the handgame players and dancers to the T. W. O. powwow, which was a really great day. I enjoy watching our students dance- they bring such a grace and reverence into the dance, whether it's traditional, grass, fancy, or jingle. The handgame teams didn't perform as well as they had hoped, but most of the experience is simply being with other powwow students (from different schools)- which is what they all love.
I was able to spend a majority of the day with this fabulous sophomore girl who has so much spunk, and we really talked about deep issues, like friendship, what makes someone beautiful, and questions about the after-life. It is of course these types of conversations that entirely energize me! At the powwow I also met a Pine Ridge bus driver, who commented on seeing me drive as he passes on the highway- and he thought it was great to have a fellow bus driver who is friendly and waves! There you go- how little we know whom our actions are uplifting!
Saturday was a rather calm day (except for the wind as I ran Manderson a.k.a. 'hilly' road)- and Sunday we had a great spirituality meeting with all the volunteers, during which we read a portion of a book that reminded me of all my theological reading and inquiry during college. It was nice to be thinking about such things once again.
How could I forget! Yesterday we had a successful blood drive here, and if I might say so myself- it was also the most successful giving-blood episode of my life! :):) Granted, this simply means that everything went according to routine, yet for me, this is a rather uncommon happening. So, I just saved three lives yesterday, your regular, ordinary, every-day hero! :)
I am busy preparing today for the senior retreat, for which I will be a bus driver/ chaperone. I am more than excited to participate once again, as I also attended the fall senior retreat. Evidently, this one makes people cry- and several seniors are asking me I'll cry. I should refer them to any of you who have seen me deliver a meaning-filled speech in front of several people. Yikes, the tears do come!!!
I am off to lunch now. I hope and pray that you all might find God's grace more abundant than ever, as I am also re-learning to rely on the grace of God.
6 months ago