This post is going to be fairly short and very sweet.
I got a phone call yesterday from a woman who recently began sponsoring an elder on Pine Ridge Reservation.
Typically, when I see a phone number I don’t recognize show up on my cell phone and it doesn’t have a South Dakota area code, I assume it is a sponsor calling. Also typically, those calls from sponsors are because there is a problem or issue that has arisen. So I usually answer those calls with a mix of curiosity and trepidation.
When the phone rang yesterday morning, I admit to those very feelings. This call, however, was not about a problem or concern. It wasn’t even a question on how to ship or rez etiquette.
This call was to thank me for giving this sponsor such a wonderful elder to sponsor. A thank you call? I think it was a first for me, after all these years. I enjoyed the conversation very much and was left with a feeling of warmth and satisfaction when it was done. The work that I do, I do because I believe it is so important. I don’t expect gratitude and don’t need it to feel good about what I do.
But receiving gratitude was a true pleasure – the icing on the cake, if you will. That reminded me of one of the beliefs I have and try to show whenever I can. That is, specifically, that it is important to show gratitude and tell a person when they have done a good job. I try to remember to thank everyone who does something for me, regardless of how big the task. I think too many people recognize and tell you your flaws! We need more people recognizing and telling you the good things.
Mind you, I don’t believe for a moment that this sponsor was really thanking me for assigning her to this elder. I believe she was just overjoyed that she had made a connection with a lovely woman who is likely to become a good friend and she wanted to share that with someone who might understand the feelings.
And so we did share — and her joy was infectious! After a few days of being down and wondering if what I did made any difference, I felt reinvigorated. I knew the work was important in my head and now I felt it in my heart again.
If I called this sponsor to thank her for calling me and sharing that joy, she would be embarrassed. So I will let this post be my thank you. I suspect you will be a joy to the elder just as much as you were to me.