When Belinda first asked, in her gentle and inimitable way if I could do a post for her tonight, I responded exactly the way I felt at the time. I was sure it would be easy. "Inspiration is EVERYWHERE!" I said. Right.
I didn't know then how I would be feeling after spending much of today reading about Canada's First Nations. I am going on a two week missions trip with daughter Jorie (age 16) in two weeks time to the Mishkeegogamang First Nation north and east of Sioux Lookout. I wanted to have as much familiarity as possible with what the needs might be and how we would best be able to serve during our short time there. So I have been attempting to look at "the aboriginal issue" in Canada through their eyes.
And my heart is broken.
I am becoming aquainted with a race of people who have survived unbelievable assaults against a people's most fundamental and essential structure: the family -- not to mention the assaults on every other aspect of their culture and way of life. Without going into all the issues, and there are many, let me suffice it to say that anyone who is not concerned about our First Nations peoples can't possibly understand how difficult Canadian society has made it for them, how deep and long acting the wounds that were inflicted (and still are being inflicted!)
Tonight there is a group of young people (our church youth group, hosted by daughter Jorie and son Joel) sitting around a campfire in our backyard, roasting wieners and marshmallows and having just finished a very rowdy and noisy game of touch football in the field adjacent to us. The back door opens and closes on occasion as one them separates from the main body in search of another can of pop in the fridge. I can hear the strains of Christian rock drifting in each time the door opens (thank goodness we live in the country with no close neighbours to disturb) and the occasional burst of laughter when one of them says something funny that cracks up the entire group in unison. They're great kids. They have a great heritage, a great life and they have a great future.
The contrast is hard to understand. In comparison life seems so easy and straightforward for our kids. Life sure isn't fair.
I'm glad it's not for me to understand. It's for me to go, though, to Mishkeegogamang in two weeks time. Carrying simply a burden of love and pure service. The rest is up to God...