At Journey’s End
On our last day on this beautiful, life changing journey, 6:00 AM saw us up and ready for a new day. After cleaning our bunk house, we set out for our final day at the school. Due to the three hour drive home and a quick adventure planned in Glacier Park in the afternoon, our day with the students would end after 10:30 mass. Before school began, the students gathered in the gym for some pick-up basketball. Although my percentage of shots made was less then pretty much every single fourth grader there (probably on the entire reservation), I had a blast challenging many of the kids I had formed relationships with throughout the week. After the morning assembly, I followed the fourth-graders to their class room. As I sat off to the side, watching Ms. Stack teach her kids, I was struck by just how much love filled the class. The love Ms. Stack showed her students was evident in every “good job!”, and hug; even in her reprimands. The students love for her shined through in every proud accomplishment presented to her and in every smile shown. And my love for those kids had blossomed from simply a love of kids in general, to individual relationships of love and respect. More than anything, these kids have taught me that in the face of every difficulty and hardship there is a resilience to be found. In the end it came down to perspective. We could choose to see the Blackfeet as a nation in need of help. A nation full of sadness and despair with little hope for a better future. Or we can choose to see it through the eyes of each bright child, still full of dreams and plans for the future. Or through the eyes of Ms. Stack, who saw endless potential in each smile of a student. This short week left all of us with a whirlwind of emotions each of us need time to process through. But one thing is certain, the love we found in our hearts for a beautiful people will continue to grow despite the distance that separates our lives. Our lives have changed all because of one week on a tiny reservation in Browning, Montana.