A crew of nine of us spent the last week serving the people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It was an amazing, exhausting, eye-opening experience. You will hear more about all this, but for now I thought I’d share the reflection I wrote in my journal on Thursday morning of our trip. ~ Kaye
One cannot help but
By the stark, beautiful land
The strong, quiet people
The stories of pain, betrayal,
struggle, loss and grief
Spiritual, emotional and
The grief is almost palpable.
It is in the eyes, behind the smile.
I still feel like an intruder…
or worse… a culprit…
These people have been invisible
to me, too.
Their strength lies in being
able to share their story
with dignity, with honor.
Our strength lies in listening,
in opening ourselves to the pain
Not blocking it out, but feeling…
sitting with compassion in the
uncomfortable space of learning,
acknowledging that all is not right with the world.
It is our role to re-member the world.
To bring balance back.
To love… as equals.
To serve… as equals.
This is no different than what Jesus taught.
This week we’ve been given new eyes
to see it again
These people are not without hope
But it is cautious… guarded.
They share, but have no reason
to believe that we will honor their stories.
If we will not work with them, then we can go.
They are not looking for pity, for “help.”
They are looking to be recognized
as equals… as valid human beings
with deep spirituality
with generations of traditions.
Hope enters when we come
to a place of understanding
we are one… the people of the four colors.
We are one… with Mother Earth and Grandfather Sky.
All are one.
When a part is broken or hurting,
The whole, too, is broken and hurting.
I ache… not just for the Indians of Pine Ridge,
but for myself,
for the world,
for our children.
We pretend we are not broken,
but we are.
Each of us must work
to restore relationships
and to heal creation.