My grandpa Mato was a wise and elderly man. He had accumulated much knowledge in his life and he often shared it with anyone willing to listen. This is a story he shared with me while I was lost in hatred and anger.
After my rape my Grandpa Mato came to me. it was the first time he’d been off the reservation he know as his home. He was born there and he would die there.In the years that followed my rape we stayed in touch. It wasn’t until my graduation from high school that he would come to me again.
Upon his second visit he found his grand daughter deep in anger and hate. He took me aside and in a quiet moment told me a story in my native peoples tongue and sign language. This is that story.
grandpa Mato: Grand daughter, I see in you a struggle that every person must face alone. But you can control how this struggle ends. Let me tell you a story of the Two wolves within.
Mato: The battle inside is between the two greatest wolves. The first wolf is evil and it feeds on anger, jealousy, envy, sorrow, arrogance, ego, lies, false pride, and hatred. The second is good and it feeds on truth, love, peace, serenity, kindness, empathy, compassion, faith and hope.
He could see the look on my face. I already knew good and evil so why was he telling me all this. His next words would haunt me many years.
Mato: (placing a hand on my shoulder and looking me in the eyes he said) The wolf you feed will always win. Don’t wait too long to feed the right wolf or it may starve to death.
For a long time I feed anger and it fueled me. I feed it all the hatred in my heart, my desire for revenge and my lies that all men deserved to suffer. For many years after this talk I feed that wolf all the meat of hatred it could consume. It rewarded me with strength and pain.
The turning point in my hatred was the look in Sarah’s eyes when she’d had enough and could take no more. My wolf had injured her, my pain and anger was killing the good in her. I refused to feed the wolf after that. I nursed the other until it was strong.
I feed it all the love I have for Sarah, all the passion. As it grew once more my faith began to return and i feed it hope. It gave me strength and peace.
The dark wolf refused to starve easily. There was still hate and anger and pain inside and it continued to feed. Even weakened it has lashed out to get control. I saw grandpa Mato about two years before he passed away. He said to me “I see you’ve decided to feed the right wolf. I’m so proud you’ve figured it out.”
He gave me this incredible hug and I will never forget those words or the pride I saw in his eyes. That was the last time I’d ever see those eyes and I’m happy to see him pleased with me.
That is the wisdom I impart to you. The wolf you feed is the one that will win. Choose wisely for one can only bring you so far and his price is heavy. As I discovered as I feed the wrong wolf. The other can carry you forever and gives a gift rather than asking a price.
Now my people revere wolves, to be named after one as I was is a great honor. Wolves are strong, loyal, independent and at the same time dependent. They are fierce warriors, incredible strong, selfless when protecting their own and very noble animals. They also have a propensity to go it alone which they are more than capable of and yet this lands them in trouble when they over estimate their own ability. I’ve certainly been all those things.