"Wild Freedom 8" By Rolly A. Chabot
There is nothing greater to watch than a good thunder storm. I love the power they release and the end result is standing in awe at that same power knowing just how small you really are. There are many benefits that come from thunder the earth can use. They are a cooling system for the earth. They provide vast amounts of moisture. They distribute seeds and pollen to other areas close and far way. Lightening strikes contribute a natural form of nitrates to the soil converted to fertilizer the ground that amounts to 250,000 tons of nitrogen per year or 20% of the total nitrogen applied. It is natural and free. Just some idle facts. I know after a good solid thunderstorm my lawn seems to wake up.
Welcome to the Fireside once again. We are going to continue on with Wild Freedom and my time with Wilson. Gather around and I do hope you enjoy...
Chapter 8 "The Celebration"
The one thing you soon learn in the North country is you make something out of nothing in very short order when you have even a few limited resources. Thus the way the Mission was built and established. Wilson was an inspiration to watch as he worked with the unfortunate people of Yellowknife. They were not homeless by any means just a result of poor choices in life. Many were confirmed alcoholics in various stages of recovery.
They were a cross section of people both Native and White. How they ended there was something they would tell you if you asked. Wilson and I had spent the last few days getting to know each other. Each time I would watch this man deal with a situation the more respect I gained for him. His quiet and yet aggressive methods seemed to work well with the clients. Step out of line and there was little tolerance. He ran a very tight ship and each person there knew they would lose the place they called home if they broke the rules.
The day of the great feast the local police turned up with a moose that had been hit on the main highway. The right front quarter had been badly damaged but the rest of the carcass was in good shape. Rather than go to waste such animals as this would be brought to help Wilson feed the many. 6 men and two ladies and 4 hours later the animal had been cut and wrapped. They were a wonderful team to watch in action.
Late that night Dr Benson returned and shared the birth had not gone well. They had lost the mother due to complications but the baby and the rest of the family were doing well considering. "It is a hard life here in the Arctic at times. Babies are born everyday but this was one of those cases I could do nothing about. I had warned the mother to have no more children but they decided to chance one more child. Hard to stop true love from taking its course. The father will soon remarry and it will start all over again. The 6 children they have already would be a full time duty for anyone let alone a traditional hunter like the dad."
We sat around for a while and talked of the North. Dr Benson had left the city and a very successful practice several years prior. He had lost his own wife shortly after he had married. His frustration with the city life, medical politics and life in general had taken him north on a short two week rotation as a relief doctor and he had never returned to the old life. "Where else can a man step out his door and catch his meal. Shoot what you eat and help people in need. It is here I found myself again. Alone yes but this is my life and I do OK up here."
I shared with him all that had taken place at the mission in the two short days I was there. The preparations and the amount of work which had been accomplished.
Dr. Benson smiled and said "Stay around long enough and you will see what this man is capable of. Nothing can stop old Wilson. Did he mention to you he has been writing a book of his past years and his pain he has gone through. These journals you have brought to him will fill in many gaps for him. His writing is exceptionally good. He has already been in contact with a publisher and they are very interested in his work."
The following day was to be the celebration at the mission. Dr Benson had been talking to Della who said Tannis had settled in rather nicely and she had been accepted by all the other dogs she kept for her team. "She said to tell you you stay away much longer she may have the dog halter broke and pulling something behind her. Trust me if Della sets her mind to it she could make your dog a sled dog." He laughed at the look on my face.
The following morning I arrived at the Mission at 6:45 in the morning and the smell of the stew cooking filled the room already. Wilson invited me into his office and asked me to sit. I could not help but notice piles of hand written pages of paper. He patted them and smiled and said "Almost done thanks to you my friend." Then shared with me this had been a labour of love for the past number of years.
"There is something very healing about putting your thoughts onto paper. You should try it sometime. Never know what may happen in your life."
Funny thing his words have never left me as I sit and reflect today of his words. Sharing your pain and struggles with another can and will open some old wounds but at the end of the day it can bring healing. Once you have written of the hurts it is like a burden has been lifted and you are able to move ahead again. The hurt seems to dissipate. There will be more, there always is but at least after a while they get less and easier to share.
The day was filled with getting all ready. The men and the ladies of the Mission made something out of nothing. All under the direction of this man Wilson whom I had certainly come to love and appreciate. This was a man who had found a purpose in life and lived his purpose. It was apparent that night when he called all of his family together and bowed his head in prayer. Such a humble man as he offered the gathering to be used for the glory of God and not him or man.
It was simple and yet fulfilling to be a part of. There was no head table. No order or structure, no agenda or purpose other than to gather and share in a meal. Yet it was still considered to be a celebration.
After the meal Wilson stood and opened the floor to anyone who wanted to share. "Tonight I would like us to think of what the word community means. What does it mean in general or better yet what does it mean to you individually. If there is something you would like to speak of I welcome you." He again sat. The room became quiet for the longest time as each man and woman sat in thought.
Finally one elderly Native lady who had first greeted me when I arrived stood. "Many here know my story. It is a story of rejection. Pain and suffering beyond what anyone should live. For years I lived with an abusive man. For years I have watched my children follow the same path of destruction in their lives. I blamed the world for my pain and became hardened and lost any love I may have had in my heart. I lost all my will to live. My children are all gone. I have heard a few things of them and the anger they have carried in their hearts. I was never there for my children and until I arrived here I had no purpose, no love. It is here I started to live again and only because of God the Father and you Wilson and the mission you have built. I have found love again and I thank each of you for what you have given."
She sat again and the room was quiet. They slowly stood that night. Many shared of a life filled with pain, rejection, hatred they carried. Many spoke of what community meant to them. The one thing which stood out the most was the fact they had found purpose. They once again had hope and above all they had found love here.
Wilson again stood and spoke. "It has been said a man or a woman is never alone until they have reached the bottom of their hurts. The very bottom of their lives. It is then they can look at what they have and reach out for help. It is a place of desperation. A place where the only thing that is left is death and then finally freedom. But the only freedom even in death is with our faith in the Father above. Everyone here has been on a journey. Some more painful than others and we have all suffered because of the choices we have made in the past. We have all chosen to leave the past behind us. We have little here for money but the one thing we have is love. I thank each of you gathered here tonight for giving me a purpose again. You are my family, you are my hope and you are all a gift from God above. Just know that I love each of you."
The night closed quietly. There was no fanfare. Each helped gathering the dishes. Each did what was necessary to prepare for the next day. Each knew and respected the other. It was a simple life and yet they all knew the same thing. They were loved and blessed to have each other. Love is a gift....
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