The other 'glimpse of grace', if you will, that we saw this past weekend concerned Alan.
Let me say right off the bat that I think all children are gifts from God.
I can say that even after 3 decades of working in a pediatric hospital!
My immediate association between watching Alan last Sunday at the give away and the story of Jesus in the temple talking to the elders is in no way meant to imply that there's anything 'messianic' about this 6 yr old boy.
However for me, the connections of these stories, once made, was very strong in that both scenarios involved a feast, a 'journey' with extended family and being 'found' among men generations older than the boy in question: a boy who seems to exhibit knowledge and skill far beyond his age and formal training.
I can't tell you the number of times Stacy (the grandmother who's raising him) turned to me or Ieshia (his sister), saying "Where's Alan?"
It felt that one minute he was sitting next to us and the next, he'd be gone.
And while other children his age were running around the back edges of the circle, playing in the South Dakota sky, Alan was drawn, as though magnetized, time and time again, back to the gathering of male drummers on the far side of the arbor.
Stacy even had to ask Ieshia to take a plate of food to Alan and remind him to eat, saying "he gets so lost in the music and drumming that he forgets."
A number of us have commented before, over the past two years as we've watched him dance, about the natural ability he seems to possess; how his movements and internal rhythms seem synchronized to the drums we've heard at wacipis (pow-wows).
That night, back in their home, Alan was asked to lead the prayer before we split a pizza.
He took out a wind instrument he received at the give away and said he was going to use that; then several seconds later, he seemed to change his mind and disappeared.
When he returned, he carried a small hand held drum, saying he wanted to use that instead.
For the next 2 minutes, he chanted and intoned in the Lakota tradition and I honestly can't say if he used 'formal' words or not.
I have no doubt that, in his fashion, he asked for blessings on what we were about to receive.
I also have no doubt that his invocations were heard and bestowed.
To those of us who observed him that day, his special abilities, passion and drive seemed divinely ordained.
It's easy to believe we might be witness to a very special gift for the Lakota people.