All in all, I think he is a wonderful new little addition to our home.
What they do agree on is barking together when there are people at the door --oh, what a massive commotion. And they both agree on certain places in the yard. I keep Paeha's leash at a shorter length so Mr. Witty is alpha --always first and out there further.... We don't let Paeha in to Mr. Witty's bed (although Mr. Witty is allowed in Paeha's bed).... Mr. Witty gets cookies first, food first --all that....
Makes me think all kinds of strange theological thoughts....
...that are interrupted by piles of leaves in the yard, hiding strange shadows... and the pit bull in the yard last night convinces me even more that we need to finish the fence and put up a gate... and I think of a locked gate and all... mostly because of the late-night knocks at the door, usually some one quite drunk --staggering drunk, and they think we should help because we are church people.... The word is already out on the street --don't come to the door drunk, she'll call the cops.... Joel's the one that put that out there.... It might even be true.
But, yesterday, before noon, we saw a guy on the street whom we know --and he asked for money --we said no and invited to come over to the house in an hour for a sandwich. He shows up at 10pm --saying it had been a very long hour --and we laughed.... but it's 18 degrees out --and Joel knows where he sleeps --so we fed him what we had for dinner (sausage and apple/cranberry stuffing --huge hunks of sausage because I make it even without a turkey to put it in), and he'll come back today.... maybe. He says he can't stay with relatives... which should be a big hint.... But we will try to give him more to sleep with --more to wear....
But I wonder at the Tribe not having a shelter... other than the jail.
And I am mentally preparing for the funeral of T --twelve years old.... well, as much as one can prepare. Mostly, I think, I am leaving plenty of room for the unexpected.... and I will need plenty of room for that.... There will be at least four pastors from different denominations present for the wake --and then I will do a funeral mass late that night --that is all fine --but then we will carry him down to the school auditorium on Monday morning and begin again --and this is when a local very fundamentalist will take over.... and I am already cringing.... what will be said to the kids in the presence of an open coffin?
I think that is where my real work begins, in the school auditorium.... that is where the 'plenty of room for the unexpected' will need 12 entrances and 12 exits --where I will have to call on all the spirits present --where I will have to be prepared to address the "he's gone to a better place" mantra that is so very comment and present here --where I will know the bullies that pushed him to this place will also be in the room --and because I know that it is the anniversary of T's death --also suicide --also bullied, perhaps by the same kids --and that maybe T's death has as much to do with that as anything....
--and perhaps I should call upon the new Roman Catholic nun in town --who works at the hospital in mental health.... yes, I think I will.
--and, I ask for your prayers --for the kids here --a few years ago there were 105 suicides on the Reservation just to the north of us --most of them teen suicides.... Suicide is a way of life.... Here, in some instances, it seems the logical and rational decision....
His death was part of a “suicide cluster,” which occurs when knowledge of one suicide influences other people at risk.
Julie Garreau, director of the Cheyenne River Youth Project, said the suicide victims began to take on an exalted position among young people. For the funerals, many kids wrote the names of suicide victims like Alonzo on the rear windows of their cars and left them there.
“One of the teachers, my cousin, she said one of the kids asked her who those famous people are,” Garreau said.
The danger of glorifying suicide is magnified in isolated places such as Eagle Butte or McLaughlin, where teens say they have little to do but cruise Main Street or drink with their friends.
It's old news --but the story hasn't changed....
And there is this:
Frightening Realities Facing ChildrenI ask for your prayers....
Abuse, addiction, poverty, abandonment, gang violence, suicide … the list of realities facing Native American youth on South Dakota reservations is a harsh one. The statistics below put these realities in black and white and substantiate the need for services from the Cheyenne River Indian Outreach.
•The Gang violence is growing at a frightening rate across South Dakota reservations.
•For American Indians, suicide is the second leading cause of death ages 15-34.
•Victimization rate for American Indian children is 15.9 per 1,000 Indian children; this includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as neglect. Caucasian children have a victimization rate of 10.7 children per 1,000.
•Household conditions in many communities on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation are similar to those found in Third World countries. These conditions are caused, in part, by extreme poverty, desolation, substance addictions and more.
You know, if you came for a visit, you might look at the houses and say --well, that's not so bad. And you might be right --there are many that 'aren't so bad'. But I've been in a few of the 'not so bad' houses... and then I weep.
At prayer this morning (a portion of Psalm 107, ending with verse 43)
Yet when they were diminished and brought low, *
through stress of adversity and sorrow,
(He pours contempt on princes *
and makes them wander in trackless wastes)
He lifted up the poor out of misery *
and multiplied their families like flocks of sheep.
The upright will see this and rejoice, *
but all wickedness will shut its mouth.
Whoever is wise will ponder these things, *
and consider well the mercies of the LORD.
Little dogs and pit bulls... One man struggling to live... a child giving up on life...
I trust what Jesus said about God... and even so, I scratch my head and make room for grief and the stress of adversity and sorrow and ponder these things....
Such is life on the wide open prairie.