Talking To A Dine' Medicine Man

The writer is the author of Black Hawk's Mission of Peace Phillip B Gottfredson

I spent today talking to a Dine' medicine man. Although I have spoken with many, I have never had the opportunity to spend as much time as I did a couple days ago. Mark is a man raised from childhood to be a spiritual leader. He has been tutored by an endless list of sacred people in his culture and has known nothing else. Quite an extraordinary experience for me, as I have not met anyone before with that kind of background. But what struck me was that even though he has been in a relatively closed segment of his society, I was amazed by how keenly aware he is of the real world. Not just in broad terms but in the most intimate details as though he is westernized, but clearly he is not. It sounds like a contradiction, but that is the significant aspect of this person. 

We carried on a conversation non-stop for six hours at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere. I was invited to meet there. Now neither of us had any money, only enough for coffee. I was hungry. I hadn't eaten all day and used the last of my money for gas to get there and back. The cafe waitress continued to serve us coffee when she came over and asked, "do you guys want something to eat?" I politely said well, we only have enough for coffee. She said again, what would you like to eat? I said, " Well, I guess we better leave, " is what you're saying. She said, No! I am buying you two a meal, so tell me what you want. Would a couple hamburgers and fries be OK? We said yes, but why are you doing this? I asked. She said I will be right back with your meal and walked away. 

My friend and I sat looking at each other in disbelief of what had just happened when we said, "It's Spirit!" We sat there grinning. When the waitress returned, she said, "God moves in mysterious ways, OK? I just could tell you were hungry and wanted to help." 

I turned back to my friend and said, you slipped her some money, right? He replied, no, I did not. When people come together for a good reason and good intentions, things like this happen. 

Life is so fascinating, and some people are unbelievably kind. My friend left a tobacco-tie outside in a tree with prayers to bless the waitress for her kindness.