Here in Texas, the November days are becoming quite beautiful. Warm sunshine and soft breezes were our delight today. The downtown Austin area was bustling and alive with people everywhere! It is good to be alive in the world at this time in history, in this place we call America.
Our forefathers weren't quite so fortunate when they landed here and it always amazes me that, according to stories I've read, many still considered themselves blessed, despite the harsh conditions in which they lived.
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
- H. U. Westermayer
Can you imagine boarding a ship with hundreds of other people, traveling in all manner of weather conditions for months, enduring sickness, death and overcrowded conditions - then landing in a foreign, wild land without even a place to lay your head? In my opinion, what the early settlers did is epically heroic.
What must their lives have been like in their home country for them to completely uproot themselves from everything that was familiar to them and endure the hardships they did?
I’m not an historian. I can’t quote you facts or dates. I can’t tell you who the leaders of the time were. I can only imagine from the point of view of humanity.
I close my eyes and try to picture how they might have felt. Maybe there was a sense of adventure, heading off to a new place - a place that held unimaginable potential for freedom. On the other hand, there had to be some trepidation in their hearts as well. Leaving behind family, friends and familiarity must have struck a certain amount of fear in their very soul.
How did they find thankfulness and gratitude among the illness; among the native attacks; amidst the harsh, cold winter; in the knowing that they are burying more than building? How?
Makes me feel pretty petty and selfish.
I look around me at everything I have – every material possession, every freedom – and often I still find myself with something to complain about.
Is this what our forefathers envisioned for us? In some ways I suppose yes. We have freedoms that likely go far beyond anything they wished for. And yet, that seems to be our downfall as well. Freedom taken to extremes.
Even so, I am eternally grateful for those who braved the unknown so that many generations to come would develop and have those freedoms. Their choices and actions set into motion the building of this country. Even with it's many imperfections, it is still a wondrous place to be.
And like those in times before us, every action we take - every INaction - has consequences. I urge you to be thoughtful about the choices you make. Those choices are NOT yours alone. Those choices will have an impact on many people, for many generations to come.
What unfamiliar territory are YOU willing to venture into so that future generations will benefit from it? What legacy will you leave for them to carry on?