Monday, November 15, 2004

Which wolf am I feeding?

An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me...It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, pride and superiority. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside of you and every other person too."

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied..."The one I feed."
I first heard this story from a Cherokee storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival, nearly 20 years ago. (An aside: My sister says you can tell you're "getting old" when you start measuring time in decades. Grrr...)

God's infinite sense of humor comes into play because a friend from Ohio sent me this story via email tonight, as I've been pondering why I find blogging such an important part of my life, right now. As with the two wolves, there are two major motivations for doing this.

The first is more selfless - and is really an extension of AA's 12th step:
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Most of what I share here is my own encounters - with God, with the communities of recovery and faith, and with the incredible messy journey that is daily living. So some of what I share is closer to the sacred, and some of it is much closer to the profane...but I can't help think of all of it as "holy." Because in the end, I'm sharing my experience, strength and hope about my encounters with God's world and God's kids, in all the messy-ness and order, all the ugliness and beauty that is "life." Several of you have responded to me, saying that you found inspiration (or, at the very least, you have identified with thoughts and feelings that we've had in common) - which has been the answer to many a prayer of mine.

The other part of my blogging personality, however, is completely self-centered, self-seeking, and self-absorbed, and is vastly more interested than being heard than in hearing. It's the part that secretly hopes that you'll just be bowled away by what you read here... the part that checks my own SiteMeter details to see just who is reading me more often than I'd like to admit. In a sad way, it is a part of me that never grew up, and is still the kid who was standing at the side of the gym at junior high dances, waiting to be noticed...the high-school and college guy who would do almost anything to be "a part of" rather than "apart from." I understand that part of me; I just don't like it very much.

It is precisely this person who was much annoyed over the weekend, when a blog-reader emailed, and said what a wonderful job I was doing...and then wrote back a minute and said, in effect, "Oops...I really thought you were somebody else." :-|

Which part will win? "The part that I feed," I guess. And there are days that I'm not sure which side I'm on...both wolves can look very much like each other, at times. Only God will know for sure - so I'm going to trust an old truth that Tom Housholder once told me about the source of my inspiration: "If it's good, it's God...and if it's slop, it's probably Steve."

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