Another death in the community last week, but this time a little more talked about, and the tragedy of it a little more pronounced than in most of the other cases. The story behind this death actually made it to the regional news on the CBC -probably one of the only times Wikwemikong was ever mentioned at the CBC level-. Here are the facts as I know them : 2 years ago or so, a beloved member of the Wiki community (Clarence Lewis) was murdered by some young men who wanted his drugs (in this case, medicine, but there are people killed for the other kind of drugs here too!). One guy pulled the trigger, but two others were considered as 'accessories' to the murder. The young men were eventually caught. The two 'accessories' men got 8 years, and the murderer got life in prison.
This story alone was one that really shook the community...and not only because of the murder itself, but because of the young people who executed it. There is often a sense of despair that quietly reigns over the youth of Wiki, many of them uncertain if they have a future at all. Events like these only drive that point home even more painfully for this tight knit community. In Montreal and most cities, if we meet youth who are angsty because they feel they are without hope, we tell them to get over it. Here, everyone seems to understand that their hopelessness is not unfounded and they are incredibly sympathetic towards their youth and some go as far as to feel the same despair!
Well this week, one of those fellows who was given 8 years in prison was actually killed in prison during a fight in the Kingston penitentiary. Many say he was framed, but that seems irrelevant now. Jordan Trudeau is the fellow's name. I was kind of wondering how his funeral would be, considering what kind of activities he had been involved with, but many people I speak too seem to be as shaken up by his death as they were by Clarence's. The word 'tragedy' has been thrown around quite a lot. Mostly, I feel that people know that this is one tragic event too many witnessed in this community. I was actually asked to write a short homily for the prayer service. Although I did not attend the prayer service itself, I was at least able to contribute in my own special way!!
So why am I not more depressed by the lives lived here? The injustices? The hopelessness of so many?
Because amidst all of that, there are the tender, quiet moments of God's light that radiate through even the darkest hours. Those moments often get drowned out by the loud despair that surrounds it, but they're there. Take for example Jordan's funeral. I wasn't there because of my teaching duties,but Doug says that the Church was jam packed with people ...and it was a beautiful ceremony. Some of the most beautiful singing he had ever heard. All of that was made even more poignant by a note that his young daughter left him "I am going to miss you so much. Please try to behave well in heaven. Don't do any bad things like you did here." As I've described in an earlier blog, that is how most funerals are here. Very beautiful...filled with gorgeous moments of peace, love and beauty.
But there are days when I feel like those little quiet moments are all around me in Wiki. Maybe it's because I'm so open to finding them -not really searching for them, but yeah...conscious of their presence, and eager to receive them-. From the golden smile that my young friend Bernadette gives me every time she sees me, to the looks I get from my first graders when I tell them Bible stories (it's quite special experience to have all those big eyes filled with dreams and imagination fixed upon you!), to seeing my friend Marie Lou -a woman in her 70's or 80's- praying with a young father in the Church who came to ask her for prayers, to the millions of stories that I hear and don't hear that shape the lives of so many people here....the little moments. The moments that anyone from the outside would probably walk by and ignore. I can't ignore them. God is alive and present in all these moments ...and he feeds me through each one of them!