Day 1: Part 2 Browning
I came on Headlights for a few reasons, but the main reason was to get rid of the stigmas of Browning I’ve picked up living in Montana. Within the first ten minutes most of those stigmas were shattered. Despite our late arrival to mass, Fr. Ed took time out of his homily to introduce us and thank us for being here. I was shocked by how excited the entire parish was at our presence. I have never felt as welcome at a mass as I did at this parish and they didn’t even know who I was! The rest of mass had a really amazing sense of community that I have only ever felt in my rather large family. During the Our Father prayer, every hand was connected, even between rows. I don’t think their hands would have parted if it weren’t time for peace. I don’t really know how to describe how beautiful that was to see. Everyone was included. I was overwhelmed by their intentionality during peace. Our group, sitting above in the balcony, quickly shared peace between those closest to us and then stood in awe as the rest of the church took their time embracing what looked like every person attending. They were in no rush. Their intentionality continued to us as we made our way down the stairs to receive communion. I couldn’t go more than a pew before getting stopped to receive peace from a member sitting down. They are very intentional as a community and I hope to bring that back to Carroll with me.
Later in the day we had the opportunity to hike a buffalo jump, which is sacred in the Blackfeet tradition. The snow and ice made us all a little clumsy on the way up but once we go to the top, it was beautiful. While I was at the top I asked God to show me what he wanted me to see looking out across the rolling hills. The word that kept coming to mind was simple. Looking down off the mountains that surround my house back home there is a very different view, there’s a whole city at the bottom with bright lights and cars. At the top of that buffalo jump you look down and there is a couple of horses, a fence, and a few telephone poles. Looking down off the buffalo jump there is mostly natural beauty, simple beauty. I think the simplicity of this culture is one of their most intriguing and distinguishing characteristics. At home we’ve covered every area of land we could get at and it’s not like that here. They left it the way God made it—simple and beautiful. I think that is one of the ways God’s challenging us to grow this week and as we go back to Carroll.