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January 9, 2014

Our Time is Running Short

by carrollministry

The third day at De La Salle, the last full day of our trip, proved to be climatic for many in our group. Relationships were developing and depth was being reached. Whether Kevin was introducing his 5th grade class to the Sound of Silence or others were learning the rich and fascinating history of the Blackfeet Nation, this Wednesday afternoon proved to be more fulfilling than most weeks in my life.
There seemed to be a shared feeling of guilt and responsibility in the group. We discussed how hard it is to start such wonderful relationships and leave right away. While many of the people we have met are rich in wisdom and in love, their suffrage has embedded itself in our consciousness. As one of the group members put, ‘How is it that I am blessed so much and have done nothing yet this wonderful community has done nothing and has to suffer?’ It is hard for all of us but the conclusion was made that change in heart can be a painful experience, but the development through love makes it worth it.

Cody during Marty Martain Talk, Browning MT

Cody during Marty Martain Talk, Browning MT

One of the stories shared today was Kevin’s, explaining to his 5th grade students his favorite singer. Pitbull and Snoop Dogg were two of the artists offered up by the students but Kevin wanted to offer an artist that could give them a new perspective. He explained to us his thought process, how he wanted something timeless, meaningful, and without vulgarity. And as if the solar system had aligned the perfect musicians came to Kevin’s mind, he couldn’t think of anyone else, it was perfect: Simon and Garfunkel. Before it had even fully exited his mouth he could only imagine what the kids were thinking. ‘Simon and Garfunkel?’ he promised he’d play a song for them before the end of class, and as if again a seemingly perfect decision in Kevin’s mind at the time was to play them The Sound of Silence once he realized the mistake he had made for the sake of his respect among the 5th grade students, he walked out of the room as it played, passing by mixed expressions of confusion and disappointment. As Kevin shared his story the first time we could not control ourselves from laughing as we imagined the students and their reaction. Oh Simon and Garfunkel; it was a good day.
The evening was another amazing experience as we were privileged to engage in conversation with Marty Martain as he explained to us Blackfeet history. We learned of the 30-year period where the reservation shrunk from much of Montana, Northern Idaho, and Canada, to roughly 1/50th its original size. We learned of the significance of the earth and all things, but what was most overwhelming was listening to Marty tell us about the significance of the eagle. He told us the eagle is the most sacred animal, how the eagle is a carrier between the creator and us. We got the rare opportunity to even touch, hold and wear 1800’s eagle feather regalia. It was humbling, and simply awe-inspiring experience.
For myself the most influential experience was with the children, having them open up to me about their family, their struggles, and most of all their immense capacity to love. As I recollect on the week, that has been what I have been able to take away most. These kids have been able to teach us love.

Cody Noffsinger

Read more from Browning

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