My two cousins, my sister and I recently took a day to learn more about our family heritage, visiting a restored ancestral home in the remote county where our family members had lived, worked and lie buried.
I thought I already knew all about pioneer ways. But in the context of my own real, dear kin, whose personal histories I know, what I absorbed touched me in a far deeper way.
A quiet amazement began to consume me. My take away for the day was how far civilization has advanced in just three generations. What hardships they had endured! Cold, cold winters in drafty homes, hot, hot summers with no air conditioning, no indoor plumbing, no vaccines, no preventive dentistry, no feminine hygiene products, no birth control pills, the early deaths of dearly loved children, no freezers, no electricity, no hot and cold running water, the “putting by” of crops to avoid certain starvation in winter. Every day was constant toil just to feed all the hungry mouths and bravely face the wilderness with just their own wits.
It occurred to me that given all our ease and leisure, for which I am grateful to my core, perhaps our generation doesn’t yet know quite what to do with itself besides hustle and consume. Our values seem skewed compared to theirs which seem simple and rock solid: they loved those beautiful unspoiled vistas in their mountain homeland, and their kinship with nature was profound. How deeply they cherished know-how and survival skills.
But surely all their blood, sweat and tears were not just so that their progeny could live shallow, empty lives of a never ending rat race, depending on drugs to endure its insanity.
No. Something is coming: something that will bring with it freedom, true community, purpose, fulfillment, mastery, natural mental and physical health.
Thank you, dear ancestors for all your heroic efforts that will help bring us to this better place.