The Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by Indians. The Lone Ranger looks at Tonto and says: "Boy, we're really in a hell of a mess now." Tonto replies: "What's this 'We' white man?"
I met Richard H. at the Christmas Day noon Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in my neighborhood in 2007. He was alone and knew no one. He was also blind. Richard had a snowmobile explode in his face while refueling several months earlier. He had come to town from the Pacific Northwest in the hope of receiving the surgery that would restore his sight. I would have the incredible honor of escorting him around town for several months and becoming his friend.
Richard was half Nez Perce Indian and grew up on the reservation in Washington state. He was also a 'one-chip wonder,' he had picked up his first desire chip 18 years ago and had never drank or drugged since. He had fallen off a 60-foot scaffold his first year sober. The doctors told him to get in the wheelchair because he would never walk again. Richard told them to go to hell. He taped his legs together and went swimming everyday, so that he could use his good leg to help keep the circulation going in his bad one. By the time that I met him, he'd been walking fine for years. He had also worked the Alaskan oil pipeline for Standard Oil, and had been with Boeing for almost 20 years.
Back home, Richard led an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for adolescent boys on the reservation. One of these boys, who was also the best friend of Richard's own 8-year-old son, was caught tagging a building with graffiti and placed in the adult jail on the reservation. The boy's father was an active alcoholic who had broken his son's arm the last time he had gotten in trouble. The boy was terrified because within a day or two he would be released into his father's custody. Richard knew that, had he been there, he would have been able to visit with and comfort the boy. He tried to get the district attorney to allow him to call the boy and reassure him that everything would be okay, but his request was turned down. The following day, the boy was found hanging in his cell.
I had had some very powerful recovery occur in my life during the several months that Richard was with me. My beloved dog, Keesha had died, and Richard helped me bury her and say goodbye. I had never buried a pet. In appreciation for my help, Richard gave me a CD of American Indian flute music that a friend of his had produced, along with a recovery T-shirt from an annual Nez Perce recovery pow-wow. One day as I was driving alone and listening to this wonderfully spiritual flute music, I began to experience deep joyous grief about having had Richard come into my life. I then looked out the windshield and directly overhead, there were three hawks circling over my car. At that very moment, I was experiencing the soaring freedom of their flight within my soul. All I could say was "YEAH!" before I broke down again. It was then that I realized that God had sent me a blind Indian herald to witness some of the most powerful healing that I had yet known.