Today might have been the most impactful thus far. Each day keeps getting better. The reflections tonight should convey this. Enjoy.
Day 5 – Patrick Droney – Presence
We awoke this morning after what felt like a brief 30 seconds of sleep for our second day at the De LaSalle Blackfeet School. Today’s schedule included testing in the morning, followed by regular classes in the afternoon, and a talk from Blackfeet tribal member and DLSBS grandmother, Patricia Devereaux to top it all off.
Reading test questions with fourth graders is just about as difficult as getting Gianni to stay quiet. Not only is it a struggle to avoid giving any help to students, but the fact that they ask for the answers at least once every ten seconds makes it borderline impossible to not break the rules. On top of that, getting a fourth grade boy to stay focused on one topic for 2+ hours…forget about it. But with the help of several jumping jacks and stretch breaks, we somehow managed to get the job done.
After school, Patricia talked to us for about an hour about the relationship between being Blackfeet and Catholic, as well as her faith story and the importance that her relationship with God has had in her life. Going into it I was expecting it to be long and dull, and I was certain that Hastings would be asleep within the first five minutes. In reality, it was exactly the opposite. Patricia told us the incredible story of her miraculous cure from cancer, and how her faith carried her through some of the darkest times in her life. It impacted me in a way that I really had not expected and simply hearing the tone in her voice when she talked about God’s saving power, made me very aware of His presence in my life.
It made me recall my word, presence, and I thought back to the verse that came along with it. It says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?...seek first the kingdom of God and righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Matthew 6:24-33). Worry has become so prevalent in the world today, and the temptation to lose sight of God’s active presence in our lives becomes very easy to fall into. But what I was reminded of today in Patricia’s talk was that having sure faith in that presence allows us to overcome even the greatest obstacles that stand in our way. When we make ourselvespresent to God by belief in him, we are able to live our lives more fully, without fear of what lies ahead.
As the time we have left on this trip is beginning to come to a close, I’d like to express just how grateful I am for the opportunity to be on this trip. I’m thankful for my parents for their unending support and for allowing me to come on this trip in the first place. I’m thankful for Mr. Clark and Mr. Collins for all of the time and energy that they put into making this trip so impactful. Without them, it would mean nothing. And lastly I’m thankful for the other guys that are here. In these last couple of days I have made some of the best memories I have had in a long time. I know that because of the new relationships I have formed and the old relationships I have built on, I will look back on this trip and the people who were a part of it for the rest of my life.
Day 5 – Emerson Clay – Compassion
Despite all of us being extremely tired, we ate a quick breakfast and got ready for another great day at school. The morning began with a fun game of dodgeball and meeting in the gym for homeroom. Next, we started with the students’ favorite activity to do; Map Testing. Today they were doing testing for math. We tried our best to help them while still not doing it for them, which most of the students made it very difficult to do. After that, we helped them finish their essays about what it means to be Catholic/Lasallian and Blackfeet at the same time.
I had no trouble at all finding examples of compassion today. The De La Salle Blackfeet School is filled with the most compassionate people imaginable. In particular, you could see compassion radiate off of every teacher. They all truly cared about helping these children learn, and have a zeal and passion for their work to be admired. There were a few times when some of the students became rude and disrespectful to the teachers. For example, a student kept telling Mrs. Bettag no and was refusing to do his work. But she did not let that bother her and continued to give him just as much compassion and attention. An important Lasallian virtue is to teach with compassion to each individual student since no one learns exactly the same.
Another person that we encountered that shows compassion was Patricia Deveraux. She is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe. She began by explaining who her relatives were and how she fits into the Blackfeet Community. She then talked about how a relative that was diagnosed with cancer became well though her prayer and by God. This miracle came through God, who answered her prayers. The true meaning of compassion can be found with God, who is the most compassionate. Later on in her life, she was also diagnosed with cancer, and her life expectancy was only for six months. Then amazingly, after she had an experience with oil being dripped on to her, she was also completely free of cancer. Finally, she sang her family song, and it was very moving. This song proves the compassionate feeling she has because singing the song shows your pride and compassion for the tribe that you belong to. Overall, the common theme of compassion can be found in both Blackfeet culture and Catholic tradition, making it extremely prevalent and huge part of the Browning community. The importance of compassion in Browning can be an excellent model for us to use in our own lives.