Restoration and service go hand-in-hand, in that the best service is restorative. Former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, led a life of restorative service. She even once said, “I want to be remembered as the person who helped us restore faith in ourselves.” During her different phases in Cherokee Nation government—including her tenure as Principal Chief—she implemented restorative benefits. She helped improve infrastructure by providing the Bell, Oklahoma community with running water; reformed and boosted tribal negotiations, and created the Cherokee Nation Community Development Center. Mankiller achieved these things and much more, all while battling sexism, racism, and serious health challenges.
At least a flicker of renewal resides in all of us. Certainly, with most of us, the willingness to employ it rises from the ashes of the many deaths we die as we make our way through adulthood. Our ability to renew and restore is an outgrowth of our intent to do so. If our hearts are not in the right place, no amount of talent will produce the kind of healing that makes us better people. We are, as were our ancestors, called to restore. If we (and they) were not, I would not be writing this, and you would not be here to read it.
Restoration may not be a primary calling for you, but it could very well be an auxiliary one. What will you help restore in 2018? Let the world be part of your renewal. Someone, I promise, will benefit.
Wah-doh (thank you) for your service.