Amanda and I are guided by the teachings of our families - passed down in stories and actions. I never cease to be surprised by the influence of seemingly ordinary moments from our childhoods, which return as extraordinary gifts and teachings. Two core teachings we vividly remember receiving are humility and generosity.
This month a family from Warm Springs Nation stopped by our home - they came as a delegation - to deliver a message. After greeting each other, the man pointing at the earth and saying, "Right here?" Yes - sure. We heat the front space of our home with wood and we were running low after December; one way or another, they caught this message and brought us wood.
We have provided outreach health care to the Warms Springs Nation monthly since 2016. Erik offers general, Family Medicine and Amanda provides advanced women's health services. Time spent in Warm Springs is a highlight for us - something we look forward to every month...as we drive up and over Wy'east (Mt. Hood) in all seasons...to reach the other side, crossing East of the "tension line" and coasting into the reservation. We camp at night along the Deschutes River shrouded in the sweet scents of a juniper grove, then spend the following day seeing patients. Our experiences in Warm Springs feel like home despite both of us growing up in northern Wisconsin & Minnesota.
"Yes - sure. There is good." The family drove 100 miles in their firewood-loaded truck...up and over the mountain pass and into our front yard. After helping us pile the wood in our front yard, the woman stated, "We are gifting you this wood for taking care of our community - for caring for our families. Others found out we were coming and sent things too..." A hunter sent elk hunted the day before - a fisher canned salmon from the recent fish camps - the gathers sent berries and jams from Fall. All in, the community sent us warmth and food to care for us. The message was clear.
The following day we split and stacked the wood - and I couldn't help but think about the lessons from my grandparents - things they taught us - more often through action than words. They showed us to be generous - to take care of people in your community - and to give these things freely with humility. In this same way, the delegation from Warm Springs showed us these same teachings. While Amanda and I visit Warm Springs every month to care for patients, we are very much cared for by the community.
In ways few may suspect, the community and people of Warm Springs heal us. Humility. Generosity.