Thursday, March 12, 2009

To truly make a difference.

Now that I am back in the Northwest (note I didn't say "STUCK back"), I have been brushing up on my Northwest History, and so have embarked on the Lewis and Clark adventure. Well, actually, I just found a really thorough book at the Camas library about Meriwether Lewis's early years through his tragic death by his own hand, and am really enjoying it. But NOW I am interested in Northwest History in it's entirety!

The way people lived back then seems so totally foreign, and it is fun to imagine what the Columbia River Gorge would have looked like to those first white man's eyes. To think of spending all day in the saddle, as a Virginian plantation owner, or going to balls and everyone actually knowing structured line dances, that education including instruction in dancing, manners, and gentlemanly conduct- what a different world it was 2-3 centuries ago.

It also is hard to imagine good men, with high ideals and christian training, owning and selling slaves, prostituting their slaves, and looking at Indians as "intelligent savages who live thus due to the superstitious religion...only lack proper training", yet treat their slaves as "more than an animal, and less than a man". To admit that we are all hypocrites, and have blind spots- is to admit that we all need Jesus. I wish Meriwether had seen it so, maybe he would have managed to live beyond his 34th year. If he had seen that there was "no one good, no not one" yet in Christ, we are made "holy...pure...perfect...a new creation", he would have been able to reconcile the things he saw with the things he believed, like Clark did.

This entry was beautiful to me:
"This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little, indeed, to further the happiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought, and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least endeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existence, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestowed on me: or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself." excerpt from Meriwether Lewis's diary, from biography, "Courage"

He very much wanted to make a difference in the world, and I am so glad he and others braved the unknown and discovered this beautiful land I now call home. Because they went first, others could follow, and dreams were made into reality. I can't help but wish that Meriwether's love for humanity could have been a comfort to him, rather than a burden. To put others' feelings and needs before our own sounds like a lofty ideal, but so important that we make it a reality- to live as Jesus did, to give and love as He gave of Himself, and loved us. May we all resolve to "live for (God), as I have heretofore lived for myself."

(The photo is just for nostalgia's sake. My mom just returned home from Vietnam, and it made me "family-sick". This is the absolute best Aunt in the world, Ba-Ba, and I miss her tremendously right now. It's funny, she speaks no English, and I only understand Vietnamese- so our relationship consists of her staring at me, making a comment, pinching my face, me smiling and me saying "yes, no, com beik" for I don't know, and us laughing together. But she is still one of my favorite people, and we love each other. My cousin, her son, is to be married next year, and Steve and I are saving to go back. I would love to hug this sweet woman, and kiss her cheeks again. AND eat her delicious food! She's the best cook I have ever met!)

No comments: