Thursday, June 28, 2018

Embraced by the Whirlwind

Left to right: Nathan, Chad, Theresa, Jacob

For about a year now I have listened to stories told by my friend, the pastor of Pass Creek Church, about his, "Hunka Mom." He and his wife are both living at the Pine Ridge Reservation with the Lakota people. Tim tells me that the term, "Hunka" is similar to being adopted into the family. It acknowledges strong ties of fidelity that are greater than mere friendship.

In her unique role as Hunka Mom to what was once an outsider, she has been instrumental in bridging culture as two once-different people have become something more than family. Indeed, the basis of community seems to have began with the two of them. She calls him her son, and to him she is "Mom."

Today Jacob, Nathan, and I had the great opportunity to load equipment in the large (and better than the Chevy) Ford F-250 Powerstroke Diesel for the purpose of mowing and trimming Tim's Mom's yard. He introduced us and we went outside to mow in the 100 degree scorching sunshine.

Jacob mowing the front.
Nathan sweeping up glass.

The yard was knee-high in places and the work was slow-going. Tim's Hunka Mom recently had surgery and was unable to move about as freely as she might have liked. With a stake in hand I cleared the yard of snakes and picked up a few stray cans and pieces of plastic. 

Nathan cleans up a shattered storm window.
Lacking a dust-pan or broom, a snow-brush and a portrait of Jesus served to pick up the broken pieces.

Having completed that, I went inside to see Tim's mom, and I hoped to establish a relational connection. Our church has adopted her and her property to care for directly. We will  write, call, meet needs, and even visit her once a year. My hope was that this relationship could be somehow natural and comfortable... despite the distance and obvious differences.

I asked her, "Mrs Whirlwindhorse, I know that Tim calls you, Mom. What should I call you?" She smiled and tilted her head slightly to the right. She said, "Yes, yes he does. Hmmm... you can call me Auntie Theresa."

I couldn't stop the giant, goofie smile from spreading across my face! She just became my Lakota Auntie. I brought the other guys back into her home where we shared cold bottles of water and prayed blessings down on the property and her family together. 

Earlier I had taken a prayer walk around the perimeter of her property.

We prayed for the Spirit of God to guard the perimeter of her property from North to South, from East to West. We prayed that feet would only set on that property to do kindess, and that cars would only enter her driveway to provide peace. The wind answered softly outside, shifting the framework of the home in a sort of affirmative response.

I decided to take a chance and ask her if we could all have a picture together. I promised her that we would make sure that she looked beautiful.

Promise kept!

She embraced me with a giant hug. 

We love you, Auntie Theresa. We'll write soon and we'll see you next July. We'll have those new kitchen cabinets ready to be installed. Thank you for accepting us and calling us family.

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