Clouds and Stars

What should have been
Important and fruitful
became bitter.
Wasted.
Spots appeared on their lungs.
Marrow dried
in their bones.
They ranted.
Pointless utterances.
Truth did not speak for them.

It is a wonder
they even made it to California.

But, of course,
they did,
and they named it success.
Conquest.
Destiny.

Frontiers ended for them
and a dread settled upon them
and became remorseless
nameless
namelessness.

(Simon J. Ortiz, from SAND CREEK)

We might easily place the workweek at the Yakama Christian Mission on our list of “see how we have helped the poor or the homeless or the disenfranchised or the Native or the Mexican, if it were not for the voices of the ancestors.  We might think of the week as an opportunity to improve and roof the old Parsonage, paint the Friendship house, finish roofing the Pumphouse, if it were not for today being September 11.  We might believe we have moved ahead from our placing others outside, thinking ourselves better, living arrogantly, knowing “we’re” right, believing “my faith is better than yours,” if it were not for our brother wanting to burn the religion of another.

Instead, it is enough to know this last day of folk from, Nickerson, Kansas, Stewardson, Illinois, Boise and Nampa and Hanson, Idaho, Anderson, Indiana, Duarte and Bakersfield and San Jose, California, Mount Vernon and Seattle and Yakima and Issaquah, Washington, Indianapolis, Indiana, who work to better the Mission campus, allows for a home where people might arrive on foot, motorcycle, or car and converse about generational issues not always welcomed in our schools, public squares, televisions, emails, facebooks, and churches.

After a week of volunteers, this last day of community placing the final shingles, raising the last soffit, painting the last board calls for a moment of remembrance during a moment of celebration.

Today is about balance, owning namelessness, opening the frontier of neighbor, recognizing Wisdom and turning an ear to the cloud of witnesses and the ancestors who are like the stars in the sky.”

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