My great-grandmother was Cherokee and Choctaw. Both sets of Native Americans are similar in customs and traditions in many ways. One custom that is alike is the tradition of story telling. A story is carried down from one orator to another. And each story has a hidden morale or meaning behind it. One story that I recount that I like, and I have heard many different versions of this one from others, but this one I am particularly fond of one most of all.
This story tells of a young Native American youth. He is preparing himself for a rite of passage. The youth is lead into the forest by his forest just as the sun is setting. A piece of material is broke out and placed over his eyes hindering him from seeing. The father leaves him all alone all night.
He must sit on the stump the entire night without removing the blindfold. He must patiently wait for the sun's rays to come shining through before removing it. Silently he must sit on the stump. And dare not cry out for help to anyone.
Once he survives the night, he is now a MAN.
What he has experienced, he must keep to himself. He cannot tell any of his friend as much as he wants to. Each youth must make this passage into adulthood on his own.
During this trial, the youth is naturally terrified. The sounds of some many strange noises. All around him, surely, wild beasts are gathering. Maybe even some person meaning to do him harm. He can feel the wind against his face as it moves the grass and the earth. Even his tree stump begins to shake it seems. But through it all he sits stoically, never removing the blindfold. This must be if he is to become a man!
The night has ended. The horrible night is over, and he can finally remove the blindfold. As he removes the blindfold, it was then that he makes a most surprising discovery. There before his eyes is his father sitting on the tree stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, making sure no harm came to his son.
We, too, are never alone. Even though were unaware of it, our Heavenly Father is watching over us, sitting on the tree stump next to us. When the night close in on us, all we have to do is look for the light and reach out to Him.
It's what a good father does. As my soul searching brings me to this new point, I trust my Heavenly Father hasn't abandoned me on this cold, winter night of my life. Though I cannot see Him, I trust He is there, and I shall see Him in the morning. God, be with those in my life that I have touched. Help them to understand that this my personal cold, winter night that I must confront myself, alone....and has nothing to do with them. But that I must face the dark and summon the strength to stay the course You have set before me.
May I survive the nightfall of my life. Amen.
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” – Hebrews 3:5By