Monday, July 25, 2011

Pioneer Day

Here in Utah, July 24th is a state holiday. It's the day that the first pioneers meandered into the Salt Lake Valley after crossing the plains from Illinois. We don't actually celebrate our statehood day, like most states. We celebrate the day our state was discovered, so to speak. That day, so long ago, people with horrifying and tragic pasts stepped out into uncharted territory (literally) and hoped for a place that would give them peace and prosperity.

While there were trials ahead (and they were numerous--have you seen the deserts in Utah?), they had faith that the land around them would become home. That they would be able to rest for a season. That they would build families and lives of substance and meaning.

I look at those men and women, the early pioneers, and marvel at their sacrifices. They came in droves. An entire church and community moved from all over the world to the haven they wanted to build here in Utah. Some of them gave up everything they had, including the families they had grown up in, to walk more than 1200 miles. My own ancestors were members of an ill-fated handcart company that left too late in the summer and were stranded in deep snow in western Wyoming.

I think about about those men and women and what they did. What they sacrificed. The faith they had. And then, I look at my own life. There have been dark, horrible, and tragic moments. There have been moments of trial and testing. My family struggles with the economy and sickness and a dozen other things at different times. And I wonder if I am like them--those amazing people who took a step into the dark and set themselves up for greatness. Do I have the faith and courage to walk into the unknown, whatever that may be for me, and do something hard. Something new. Something beautiful.

How about you, friends? What lessons do you learn from the past? Have you made any leaps of faith?

6 comments:

cherie said...

I love reading/hearing stories about the pioneers. So inspiring and heartwarming.

Jess said...

I'm in awe of those who crossed the country when it was unknown to them. I mean, things like not knowing when you'll next find water? That's just...a very different kind of fear and trepidation than I can imagine for me or my children. It took some very strong souls to do that.

Tara Tyler said...

i feel like a total wuss compared to those people! i would die w/o ac! my kids hav no idea how spoiled they are!!

thank you pioneers for making us great. now how do we get that work ethic back?

Krispy said...

I look back at history and wonder how those people did so much. It's pretty amazing, and I always feel like such a lazy bum afterward. Haha.

That's a cool fact about Utah, and thanks for the inspiration today. :)

julie fedderson said...

My great grandparents immigrated from Czechoslovakia in the 1880s. Amazing to imagine leaving your life in exchange for the complete unknown. Makes me feel sort of cowardly sometimes when I complain about trivial stuff. I mean, I could be living in a sod house in Nebraska during the winter.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I am constantly learning from the past. It is probably why I studied History in school.