Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pioneers are either wacky or lucky.

No one ever reads the Little House books and says, "I'd like to be Mary Ingalls." Aside from the fact that she went blind and died an old maid, being such a model of decorum and grace must have been such a bore. Like every reader, I wanted to be Laura. Imagine the freedom of roaming barefoot on the prairie, with the sky wide open above and the wind blowing through your hair. Who cares if society frowns on your tanned arms, or that you might be hijacked by buffalo wolves out there on the prairie?

On our long drive to Grandma’s funeral, my husband and I listened to By the Shores of Silver Lake. I’d checked the book on CD out for my daughters, but they quickly lost interest. We adults, however, found it fascinating to hear her first-hand account of being the very first settlers in a brand new town at the end of the railroad grade, before the tracks had even been laid that far west. It led us to ponder the motivation of the pioneers. What possesses someone to give up everything they have, to put their life and livelihood, as well as that of their children, on the line, in the mere hopes that something better might lay on the other side of the horizon? Granted, Uncle Sam was giving away 160 acre farms, but really, don’t you have to be a little wacky to take that kind of risk?

My brother works for a new kind of pioneer. He’s helping build rockets, as space exploration is becoming a privatized endeavor. His boss got rich on technology stocks and decided he wanted to go to Mars. When no one would help, he started his own company with that goal. Hence, wacky or lucky. Or maybe both.

There are things I am passionate about, no doubt. I’ve made sacrifices and worked hard for a number of different endeavors over the course of my years so far, however, I’ve never been a pioneer, by any stretch. Sometimes I dream of pioneering – finding something no one’s tried before, something about which I’m insanely passionate – and putting it all on the line to make a go of it. Maybe I’d just be wacky, but who knows? Maybe I’d be lucky, too?

I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands. Isaiah 43:19

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