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Rhia’s Corner

                             Catawba Sage Woman

By Rhiannon Waits

If you are lucky in your life, you will run across many sages who impart information that helps you get through life without having to attend the academy of Hard Knocks. They speak of words that have been passed to them of The Great Spirit or the higher power they worship. You never get too old or too wise to be taught as life is a learning experience until the day you cross. They do not have to dress in long white robes or have visible wings upon their backs. My spirit has met such a messenger, at a crucial point in my life.

A wonderful wise woman of Catawba decent shared some words of wisdom with me. As I have stated, life is a continuous learning experience and sometimes it is a pleasant one and at other times, it is quite harsh. As I sat and listened to the wise woman whom is referred to as a Mud Puppy, I found that this was to indeed be an enjoyable learning experience. Her official name is Alice Ray, however, I believe most call her “momma”.  Alice speaks with gentle swaying words, you can sit for hours listening, and being entranced with the lessons, she shares.

With a voice ever so soft and gentle, Alice said, “Rhia, while you teach people many things, you must remember one thing for yourself.  You can share your knowledge but you cannot make them listen and you cannot make them make use of it.  You squander your time when you keep going back and repeating yourself to those to whom you speak. Share your knowledge with much love but do not waste your energy retracing your steps, and trying constantly to set them on the right path. It is up to them to use or cast away what you impart. You cannot make their life easier for them; they have to do this on their own."

I sat back and thought about this, because as the sweet Catawba Mud Puppy shared this with me – a light went on and a door opened that would never close again. I had exhausted so much of my life teaching to some that did not want to be taught! I had depleted a large amount of energy repeating myself and running back trying to get them on their feet. The energy I had spent doing this, I could have spent on others who truly wanted to enhance their life!

One could ask, why at this point in my life that these doors were opened to me? Why did the light come on at the age of 46 as I sat listening to Alice?  I believe the light came on because Alice not only believed in me – but also loved me. The Great Spirit’s force flowed through her as she helped me on my quest to enlighten others. She gave a gift beyond monetary value by sharing the Great Spirits’ message to me.

Looking back on my own life with the new insight I just attained, I realized many times I had tried to help those who did not want to help themselves. I had so many times spoke to people that had deaf ears, and because of this, missed the ones wanting to learn.

Alice grew up on the Catawba River banks, playing in the red Mud that grounded her. South Carolina could never produce any finer spirit then it did the day they brought her to this world. Remember the lesson that was taught through this. Give the message to those who will listen. When it is time, a door will open that once was closed. 

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