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The Wolves Within

January 14, 2008

wolf2.jpgMy Grandma Martha was the wisest woman I have ever known. I spent much of my childhood in her home, which was the greatest blessing I have ever received with the only exception being receiving salvation. My grandma was the daughter of a full-blood Blackfoot Indian mother and a West Virginia coal miner father. Her childhood was one of poverty, at least monetary poverty. She often spoke of “overflowing love” and “lessons from the heart.” This category is dedicated to her memory. The lessons from the heart I learned from her have defined who I am today.

Grandma taught me a very valuable lesson about character when I was 11 years old. I was a cheerleader in the 7th grade. This was quite an accomplishment for me considering I had a stuttering problem until the 5th grade and was actually quite shy. “Junior High School” was my first opportunity to meet new classmates who did not know of my previous stuttering problem as several elementary schools joined together to form one Jr High. I tried out for and was chosen to be a basketball cheerleader. How excited I was. Now I was in the “popular crowd” for the first time in my life. My happiness was short-lived however because one of my classmates, Rita, who I had spent the previous 6 years with did not make the cheerleader cut. She was very upset to have been overlooked and what she believed was “her spot” was given to me. During our second basketball game just after our halftime presentation, Rita led a chant making fun of my previous stuttering problem. I was so embarrassed. I went home in tears and filled with anger towards her for telling all my new friends my secret. My grandma let me cry and say nasty things about Rita for a few minutes. Then she told me a story her mother had told her when she was very young. She called the story, The Wolves Within.

An old Grandfather Indian Chief spoke softly to his young grandson, who had come crying to him with anger in his heart towards a friend who had embarrassed him in front of all their friends. The grandfather explained that he too had felt great anger and even hate towards people at times for being mean to him. Grandfather said that hate only wears the person doing the hating down and does not hurt the person who has caused you great sorrow. He said that he had struggled with many emotions throughout his life and compared them to having two wolves inside him.

Grandfather explained one wolf is good and does no harm. This wolf likes people and wants to live in harmony with everyone around him. This wolf has the emotions of peace, love, hope, kindness, compassion, generosity, empathy, faith, and serenity. The other wolf is bad and full of anger and hatred towards others. His emotions are ones of envy, sorrow, self-pity, greed, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority, arrogance, and regret. Grandfather said it was hard having both of these wolves living inside him, like they were living inside everyone else too. He said the wolves are always competing to see who is the strongest and who will dominate our spirit and claim our soul.

The grandson thought about what his grandfather had just told him and a concerned look came over his face. “Grandfather” he asked, “Which wolf wins?” The Grandfather hesitates for a moment and looks straight into his grandson’s eyes, places his right index finger on his grandson’s heart and quietly states, “The one you feed.”

I will never forget that story. I can still see Grandma looking me straight in the eyes and feel her finger on my heart and hear her stern but loving voice say, “The one you feed.” I knew it was up to me to decide which wolf in my heart I wanted to control my feelings and emotions. I could allow Rita’s jealousy and anger over not being selected as cheerleader to make me full of self-pity and anger towards her cruel ridicule, or I could remember what it was like to not win something I thought I deserved and have compassion for her loss and disappointment.

My Grandmother was 100% correct in that anger only wears you down. It does not help the situation. I will admit I have to be constantly aware of which wolf inside me I feed each day. They are both there, both waiting to be fed. It is up to me to choose which wolf to feed. Which wolf did you feed today?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2008 6:38 pm

    This is a great story of good and evil. It backs up the theory that whatever you give your attention to (feed) gets bigger. It makes me Thankful that God inhabits my heart, even though I must admit I don’t feed Him as much as I could. Thanks for the story! Tommorow I will try to send some readers.

  2. January 16, 2008 8:09 am

    Hwllo, I want to introduce myself. I am a blog friend of Greatfullivin and your post said so much to me. Just recently something happened in my life that I almost let the anger and resentment take over. Your story about the wolves fit me to the letter. I am glad I can and do feed the good wolf and keep my heart as clean as possible for God.

    I hope you will stop by and visit.

    Love and Hugs,

  3. cricket51 permalink*
    January 16, 2008 10:11 pm

    Hello and Welcome Joyce. I am very happy my post spoke to you and helped in some way. I know life can really get to us sometimes if we allow it to.

  4. January 17, 2008 9:46 am

    Hi!! I’m here from Greatfullivin’s blog….she had a little bit about you and your long time friendship. I wanted to pay you a visit.

    I’ve read this story many many years ago, and I continue to follow the creed. As much as I can. And this about what the ‘snubbed’ girl did to you was so typical of jealousy….it burns in peoples hearts ’til they feel harming the innocent is just! I have to say, we all get over it, and we go on with out lives….but hurtful things can never be forgotten. Way in the back of our subconscious being it still hurts…even a little.

    But, it makes us all the stronger.

    It’s nice to meet you. I’ll hope to remember to drop by again sometime!!!

  5. cricket51 permalink*
    January 19, 2008 4:11 pm

    Hello and Welcome Anni,

    You are so right about how we may “get over it” but we never forget it. And yes adversity can make us stronger. We just have to decide to let it make us stronger. Thanks for the visit and come back anytime.

  6. January 20, 2008 6:39 pm

    That was a wonderful story. It really goes with my belief that, in life, we always have a choice: good or bad, right or wrong, happy or sad and so on. It may be difficult and it may hurt but we can always choose which path to follow.

    And by the way, I was touched by what you shared about your Dad wanting to visit our country again. I hope he gets the chance to do so. Please tell him “thank you” for fighting for us! :o)

  7. cricket51 permalink*
    January 20, 2008 7:36 pm

    Thank you so much Candy. Your comment made my day. So often I feel our country’s efforts in helping other countries are seen as the Ugly Americans trying to take over the world. Even though some of politicians may have some personal motives, our soldiers truely are doing what they believe is right. It is so wonderful to hear a “thank you.” I will definitely share it with dad. I think it will make him happy to hear his efforts were not in vain.


  1. Crickets Hearth

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