I was 4 years old the first time I saw a Native American and still today I remember that meeting as if it were yesterday. It was a hot summer evening, my family and I were sitting in a restaurant where we were having dinner. The air was warm and very comfortable. There were a lot of people, families with children and it was quite loud. almost all the tables were occupied, but at the bar there was only one man. I remember being fascinated by his long hair as he sat with his back to us. I had no idea that he was a Native American, he was dressed just like everyone else and for a four year old who had seen Native Americans on books and television wearing headdresses, the clothes he wore didn’t match the image I had.
We sat for a long time and ate and the evening became darker. From one second to another, the man sitting at the bar was gone, I didn’t think about it anymore and kept eating. Suddenly, the entire restaurant shut down and a big fire appeared on the beach and a few minutes later the magical melody followed by flutes. The music that was played I recognized, so I ran out and there he was …. the man sitting at the bar, with his traditional clothes and the big headdress full of feathers. What happened inside me was something so strong that only now when I write about it do I get it back and my eyes are filled with tears. Can you understand that I was only 4 years old but remember it so well?
With tears running down my cheeks and a sense of peace, freedom and admiration, I sat down by the fire for the rest of the evening to enjoy what I both heard and saw.
The magic aura that shone around him is something I still can’t explain today, but what I can attest to was that I was suddenly in another world.
After a long while, it was time for me to head home, and this is where I acquired my first knowledge from a Native American. My parents came out to give me some money that I would put in some kind of bowl he had in front of him, but when I stepped forward to put the money in the bowl he took my hand and closed it while looking at me and said .. .. ”Never forget that the most important thing in life is not what you get, it’s what you give.”
This knowledge came to help me through my life and today I understand what the wise Indian meant with the wise words. He gave me something that cannot be bought with money, he taught me the most important key to live a life of peace and that is to meet everthing that surrounds me whether it is a human or a leaf with kindness, compassion, humility and respect.
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