Manataka American Indian Council




Quotes of the Month

By Manataka Elder, The Rev. Dr. Fred D. Wilcoxson PhD



Siddhartha sat beneath his tree, waiting for an answer. He saw a path, four simple stones, across the stream of sorrow. Rising to bend low, he called the Earth to silence, casting compassion all around him, like cherry blossoms caught on the morning breeze. Should I stand aside or look away from this kind and good man because his words are not in my book? There are many rooms in my Grandmother's house, with many places to ponder, a mystery greater than I can contain by building a booth on God's holy mountain. Deep faith is not a box, but a willingness to wander, knowing that there is a shepherd, who will always guide me home. ~Bishop Steven Charleston (Episcopal), Choctaw

One night a man came to our house and told me, “There is a family with eight children. They have not eaten for days,” I took some food and I went. When I finally came to the family, I saw the faces of those little children disfigured by hunger. There was no sorrow or sadness in their faces, just the deep pain of hunger. I gave the rice to the mother. She divided it in two, and went out, carrying half the rice with her. When she came back, I asked her, “Where did you go?” She gave me this simple answer, “To my neighbors – they are hungry also.”

I was not surprised that she gave – because poor people are generous. But I was surprised that she knew they were hungry. As a rule, when we are suffering, we are so focused on ourselves we have no time for others. – Mother Teresa


I have heard the moans and groans of many as I make my way around the building. Everyone, in one way or another, is suffering from the effects of the current economy, high un- or under- employment, and gas prices remaining high, driving the prices in the grocery show to new heights. In many cases the point that Mother Teresa makes is true, suffering does tend to make people focus more on themselves rather than looking at the suffering of others.


The holidays are upon us, the leaves are falling revealing the bareness of the trees, winter is beginning to settle in, the days are shorter and the nights are longer, and the pain of our suffering becomes more acute.


Let’s just take a moment to look around. Let’s try really hard to turn our focus out. Don’t be surprised when your turn your focus out how close the pain of another is to you… on the same floor, in the same building, in your neighborhood, in your child’s school, or in your church. While food, clothing, shelter are an obvious reality, look to the deeper pain of loneliness, depression, sadness, and fear.


Just think how nice it would be if each one of us shared a meal, gave a blanket or jacket, or spent time with a child, an elder, a single person, or a family. Even easier than that, you could make someone’s day with eye contact and a smile, holding a door, acknowledging one’s presence. If you are not a real ‘people person’ there is plenty of room behind the scenes making packages for our military, food baskets for the truly poor, stocking shelves at the local food pantry or thrift store, or simply making donations to the many organizations that help others.


And, when you say your prayers today, add all those other suffering people in there with your own needs… and instead of adding your needs, give thanks for the many blessings that you do have. … May God bless you all!!


I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30 (NRSV)




Manataka Elder, The Rev. Dr. Fred D. Wilcoxson PhD


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