Last week the youth in our church participated in a pioneer trek reenactment. They dressed in pioneer cloths, packed all their belongings for 3 days in a 5 gallon bin, were sorted into “families” with an adult couple acting as “ma” and “pa” and pulled handcarts over 20+miles of remote mountain land, then camped under the stars on the ground. I had the opportunity of helping my friend Jen with the Hoe Down dance for them after they arrived in the “Salt Lake Valley”. We went up early in the morning to set up and stayed late in the night after the dance ended, so we were just there for the day. We also dressed in pioneer cloths and I kind of felt like I was a pioneer, even though I didn’t pull any handcarts or actually do anything hard. There were not many people there when we got to the valley to start setting up, so the waist high grass was untrampled, little grass hoppers jumped around us as we walked, and it felt so peaceful and mostly untouched. As similar as we could get to how it would have felt for the pioneer’s I imagine.
When the handcart companies pulled into the valley I heard some of the stories of a few of the difficulties they had been through. It was much harder than anything that I have done before. And this is with a huge team of adults preparing so many things for them, from meals for them to cook at their camps, to transporting port a potties along their route for them to use, a medical trailer following them around, and HAM radio operators communicating their needs and so much more. I had just one day of hearing the experiences of others, getting just the smallest glimpse of what some of my ancestors went through and thinking of the legacy of so many members of the church. But after this small glimpse I am so grateful for so many things.
I am grateful for the sacrifice of those before me, ancestors or not. I am grateful for their example of faith. I am so grateful that I live in this modern day, with easy transportation, medicine (my allergies were the worst they have ever been), and every convenience you can think of from grocery’s stores stocked full of easily prepared delicious food, a comfortable pollen, dust and bug free home and running water. And I am grateful to be able to hear the experiences of others to remember that we can all do hard things, even if our hard things are different from those of others. To remember that faith comes from enduring the difficult things in life and continuing to trust in God, in his knowledge of us and what is best for us, and in his power to do all things when we turn it all over to him.