Today's online edition of the Globe and Mail contains a story about the people of Attawapiskat who in recent months have faced an epidemic of suicides and attempted suicides about which Canada feels deeply grieved. However, the article was not reporting on the crisis, but rather on a donation the people of Attawapiskat have raised to help the people of Fort McMurray. The news jumps off the page because instinctively we think that when we are in need we have to focus solely on our own well being. The gift is so counter-intuitive that when the Red Cross received it they contacted the Chief of Attawapiskat, Bruce Shisheesh and quoted him as saying, "We want to help." It was the Red Cross who broke the story, not the people of Attawapiskat.
I found the news inspiring. It's not that it was an extraordinary amount of money, but it reminded me of a wise saying a Jewish friend once offered me, "One is never too poor to be generous." The news from Attawapiskat offers us hope as it also brings to mind a line from St. Francis' prayer, "It is in giving that we receive." There is a great spiritual depth in our First Nation community and we do well to learn from it. My prayer is that through this act of caring and helping Fort McMurray, the people of Attawapiskat will discover the truth of Jesus' words when he taught that true greatness comes in serving others. I pray too, that as such greatness is achieved, it will turn the world on its ears and as Jesus said, "The first shall be last and the last first."
Grace and Peace,