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Have We Lost the Pioneer Spirit?

July 5, 2017 2 Comments

Abraham Lincoln – Rail Splitter

Yesterday the United States of America celebrated our 241st birthday.  As s self-proclaimed history nerd (I know a little about a lot) it is a day I always enjoy not just as an American but I enjoy the history behind the day. By choice I had no exciting plans other than to spend a lazy day at home. I spent a bit of time switching between two different history cable channels watching, “America the Story of Us,” and “Patriots/ American Revolution.” – A great day for a history nerd.

I have always been amazed by the tenacity of the early American pioneers. My own family came to America in 1654.  Depending on the ship, the crew and the weather it was a journey that could have taken as few as 47 days or as many as 138. This is a long time to spend in the dark hold of a ship with questionable food, water, sanitation and disease. When they boarded the ship they had no way of knowing how long the journey would take.

What was it that would cause a family to leave the safety of what they knew for a journey into the unknown? A journey where the odds were not in their favor.

For the most part, those of us who live in the 21st Century have grown soft. We like our nice big homes with the AC running cold in July. My greatest risk in life is driving in Atlanta traffic. I don’t need to chop wood or fetch water from the well. Hunting for food consists of browsing the meat case at my local Kroger.

The earliest American’s came from a different stock. Hard work and risking their lives for something better was for some a normal part of life. Sure many were motivated by greed. A greed that would justify slavery and the Trail of Tears.  But for many, it was just a desire to find a better way of life and to be part of something new. For some it was for religious freedom. They would move to new land, a land they would work for years to clear trees, stones and stumps. A land that would take extreme work to build a simple subsistence farm. Yet they did it by the thousands. Men, women and children would literally risk their very lives to pioneer a new life.

Have we lost that deep rugged pioneer spirit? A spirt that would cause the Stallings’ family to board a ship on a London dock and make the journey to Virginia. A spirit that would motivate the 13 colonies of mostly small family farmers and shop owners to take on the British superpower. A spirit that would cause Civil War soldiers to willingly charge into a wall of musket and cannon fire. A spirit that would cause families to load up in oxen pulled wagons and risk the trek across the Sierra Mountains for a new life in California.  Sure we still see glimpses here and there of that spirit but for the most part, we do our best build a soft and comfy life. I am not sure if that is a good thing.

Here I sit writing this on July 24th 2017 firmly planted in my recliner enjoying the cool AC on a hot and humid Georgia summer day. I get to do this impart thanks to my forefathers who boarded that ship in 1654 and sailed west to start a new life. Is this the legacy they hoped to leave behind?

Do you think we have lost the spirit of the pioneer? Who today shows a glimpse of a true pioneer?

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About the Author:

I am enthusiastic about helping others discover their purpose and grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is great to see their eyes light up at their “Ah Ha!” moment when they discover they were created for something more. My hope is that this blog will help encourage and inspire you along your way. Join the conversation and take the time to share with me your own story. I have been married to my beautiful wife Janice for over 25 years. We currently live in Stockbridge Georgia with two of our children Matt and Victoria. Our oldest Chris has left the nest. Of course we cannot forget about our dog Taffy.
  • Spencer Folmar

    Great post. I have often wondered this too and especially thought of it on this past 4th of July. I toured the Empire State building this week, and that was built in a little over 1 year. Today it seems like the original American spirit is being reawakened and the eternal optimist are coming back… let’s see what happens.