My brother Axel left this earth six years ago. He took his own life under the influence of alcohol. Suicide is prominent in Alaska. It’s a topic people tend to shy away from as to sweep it under the rug. When the thing we should do as communities is bring awareness to this darkness. It is a darkness, when someone feels like life is no longer worth living, that the best solution is to take your own life, that all your problems are too big, that is darkness. The only way out, the only light, is through Jesus. I do not condemn nor condone the act of suicide. Those of us left behind, have a hurt in our hearts that needs to heal. When there is a wound in our heart, and we don’t allow Jesus to heal it, it festers and becomes a weight on our shoulders causing more havoc in our lives. When we give our hurt, our pain and our burdens to God, we lift that weight. The memory of those we lost may fade with old age, but there are sparks of oh so precious memoires that are treasures worth more than anything this world can offer. What this world offers is darkness, people succumb to darkness daily, most without even realizing it. Action or lack there of to help those in need, desires and lust for materialistic possessions, thoughts of judgment on those less fortunate and the list goes on. The human tendencies to be human are what make us all human. I know with all my imperfections, all the times I fell short or felt less than, at the end of this day I rejoice for I am loved beyond measure, just as my brother who has gone on before me is loved beyond measure. There is healing and hope and love in the belief of the unconditional love we all have, but not yet share. For this love is a choice, a choice to accept or deny, life or death, darkness or light. There is no riding the fence, no half in half out. People either choose to wholeheartedly accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior or not. That is a personal choice no one can force anyone to make. Once you do find this love, your whole world changes. With time the understanding of what love is, what it can be and what you would be without it. I see the joy, I see the love and I see the hope each day presents, because I choose to see each day as that. So on this day, that I remember as the day my brother was born, I send out love, hope and joy to the heavens and I put my faith in God. Love and be love, for you are loved.
This year the cultural club at Mat-Su College Hosted another great event! The theme was roc your Mocs and the performers were groups that focus on and support sobriety in families. Duke and I participated in the regalia show representing Unalakleet, Alaska! God is Good, All the time!
Wisdom comes easily to those who seek the wise. I do not claim to be wise, for that is not wise. White hair is a crown of wisdom and that makes sense because those seasoned in life through experience of living in this world gain wisdom. Learning to respond rather than react in situations is a form of wisdom. Empathy is a form of wisdom, allowing yourself to learn from other’s successes or failures. When an elder is present in a room, we are taught to stand quietly until spoken to. Being respectful is wise. Having a sense of identity of your cultural background is a fundamental part of growing into the unique human each of us are created as. Delving into your true self with a sense of wonderment and accepting yourself for you is wise. Not one person on this earth has the ability to make another person wise, it is up to one’s self to ascertain through seeking knowledge and applying accordingly. Truly, wisdom is a gift from God.
There is a place in my heart that is set aside, it is “taken” “reserved” “occupied” Sometimes there are people in life that hold a piece of your heart and that spot stays forevermore theirs. I like to imagine my heart in its entirety and the love that dwells there is for Jesus. Then I take it further and know in my heart that those I grew up with, siblings, cousins, best friends, aunts and uncles, parents and people close to me all have their share in my heart. Even when they leave this earth that spot remains, always filled with love for my savior and to their memory. It’s so hopeful to never be afraid of getting a “broken heart” because a heart filled with love for Jesus can never truly be broken. Constantly healing and growing the longer we live to accommodate new spots for people we grow to love. Love is awesome, not to be taken for granted and given freely. Never expecting a thing in return but always greeted with a smile. Love.
God’s beauty is all around. When appreciated in the moment we are in this beauty makes life more beautiful. We are all blessed to be able to observe God’s beauty but whether or not we appreciate it is up to our own self.
One of the most rewarding acts I can accomplish in my life is passing down the traditional knowledge of my subsistence culture to my sons. Gathering sustenance from the land is a simple act of love anyone can give to their children.
I checked on the cloudberries today. Some were ripe and some were not. I know from experience, no matter how hot it is outside, to wear carhartts. The horseflies are vicious and relentless. The berries are packed with a high content of vitamin C. One cup is equivalent to approximately 7 oranges. The seeds take seven years to germinate and rightly so because these berries are a super food. One of my many goals in life are to bring these to a local market, possibly further. As I delve into God’s bounty this 2019 berry season I am extremely thankful for the knowledge and desire to practice the Inupiaq lifestyle. Blessings from Alaska!