Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
I tend to think of certain eras in our country when I see the word grit.
First, the earliest settlers who journeyed across a strange ocean in tiny little ships, heading for they knew not what. Why did they do it? For some, it was an adventure. Some were escaping punishment for crimes committed in the Old World.
However, the vast majority of those earliest settlers were looking for freedom from persecution in the practice of their faith. Were they all deeply devout, dedicated to God and to serving Him? Probably not all of them, but again, the majority of them were that dedicated. So hats off to them. They had incredible courage.
Skip forward to the times of the great wagon trains that moved westward. They weren’t all thinking about the doctrine of Manifest Destiny that gets such bad press these days. Most of them just wanted more space around them than the cities along the eastern seaboard allowed. They were adventurers, drawn by tales of the rich farmland and the beauty of the West.
I think especially of the women. Hard-working, faithful women who walked hundreds of miles beside the wagons because walking was more comfortable than riding. Women who birthed children along the way, and sometimes left them buried in unmarked graves. Sometimes the women who gave birth didn’t survive, either, and left their bereaved husbands and older children to go the rest of the way without them.
I also think of the women who spent the cold, bitter months of winter within the confines of tiny cabins, sitting by the fire for warmth as they spun and wove, knitted and darned the evenings away after a day of hard labor caring for their children, cooking, and helping with the animals. Spring, summer, and fall were better. At least it was safe to be outdoors as they cultivated vegetable gardens and did the dirty laundry that had accumulated during the dark months. Still, some of them were defeated by the unceasing prairie winds, seas of grass, and lack of human companionship. Some retreated into what we now call depression. Some left to go back home. But the vast majority of them, strong in body and spirit, stood shoulder to shoulder with their hard-working men.
Fast forward again, to the Depression years; the years in which my parents grew up. Let me tell you, their stories were stories of true grit. And then they went right into WWII, and before the misery of those years drifted into the past, Korea became the next war. This was the Great Generation, and if you don’t know about them, you need to do some studying. They were amazing people.
I wonder what history will say about my generation, and those who follow? I’m 70 now, something I considered a vast old age when I was young. Believe me, it comes long before you’re ready! My generation has witnessed and taken part in amazing things–the first polio vaccines, Viet Nam, the dawn of the digital age, moon landings, and so much more. The people behind those events were pioneers of a different sort.
I believe, unless there is a return to some old, biblical standards, that America is in danger on many levels. When our college-age young people need safe places in which to cry when their candidate loses, we have to acknowledge a lack of grit. You don’t sit and cry. You stand up, brush yourself off, and keep on keeping on. You face life with determination and the courage of your faith, your moral values, whatever motivates you, and you don’t just sit and moan.
And you don’t spend your adult life living in your parents’ basements. There’s no grit in that at all.