So I brought one of my boys with me tonight, and we had a three-hour dinner to catch up. Tony told me that he misses going to sweats, and we talked about the possibility of me building him a lodge on his property if my family opts to move back home sometime soon. Tony and my son had lots of great conversations, and my son dazzled him with all his knowledge about everything from raptors to ways that different tribes do ceremonies. Tony asked me for advice on how to intervene with families who are going through things like alcoholism and domestic violence, and urged me to consider relocating back up to the Rez to work with people there--they have no counselors or administrators who can even begin a program for trauma. In particular, he said that sexual violence is rampant but the people will not talk about it, and he wishes there was a service program for victims among the Indian people back home.
I'm not really considering it because the Rez isn't the place my family wants to go and live. It's rough, sad, dangerous, and isolated. But we are considering many options about where we will live and what we will do in the future.
Tony also became a Sun Dancer before he left the Rez, and he gave his Sun Dance ribbons to me as a gift. They are for me to use during ceremonies like sweatlodge or pipe prayer, and are a great honor to receive. I told him that my current struggle is to accept mistakes of mine, release anger in a healthy way, and to remind myself of my own "feet of clay" as I try to turn my life into a form of service. We don't always do things correctly, I know, but we have to try. I told him I had been feeling miserable lately because of mistakes I made in efforts to care for people. Tony told me that efforts to help others never deserves apology or regret. He said that so few people ever bother to spend even a minute of their lives trying to uplift and support and love (yes, I said it!) the bruised and broken-hearted, just scurying on their way and ignoring each other's pain, that we have to break the cycle and make heartfelt efforts without giving up.