Wednesday, September 29, 2010


 My 9 year old and I have been reading about the early explorers. For some reason, this was a personally interesting period for me when I was in fourth grade. I always remembered the names and what they discovered- John Cabot, Sir Francis Drake, Amerigo Vespucci, Ponce de Leon. I've decided that the retainment is simple: not only are saying the names fun, but by nature, I am an explorer. The kids watched me one night last week, binoculars in hand, trampling through the heavy, wet grass in the field trying to get a good view of Jupiter.

Today we wandered from the textbook and read a book that I have had here for many years, Discovery of the Americas by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. (you know, the whole if mom feels like having fish for dinner we have fish for dinner thing) Significant attention is given to Ferdinand Magellan, who is attributed the honor of sailing around the world. Thing is, he never made it. He was ambushed in the Phillipines. So close to the finish line! Yet, 1 ship (after 5 at the start) and 18 men (after 250 at the start and their leader gone), they continued on. A lesser known man (to us), Juan Sebastian del Cano, sailed and with "the remaining crew were determined to complete the journey for their dead leader."

This whole ordeal took 3 years. It was hellish. Storms (hurricane season, unknown to them at the time), disease, death, hunger, thirst.. all overtook these men. Sure, there was wealth in their minds and the honor of bringing back to Spain their great feat and discoveries (such as present-day the Strait of Magellan). Yet, there was also a mindset to explore and discover. And Magellan, like Columbus and others, never knew the proportion of their sacrifice. In Magellan's case, his voyage caused the world to understand for the first time, how big the world was.

Two things strike me here. One being, the loyalty of del Cano and the remaining crew to carry the torch for Magellan. Lots to ponder about there.

Secondly, the sacrifices of men and women throughout history is incredibly inspiring. Chartering unknown territory, pioneering new ideas, continuing to blaze the trails our predecessors walked, takes some courage, vision, and an understanding of the bigger picture. Some, for personal gain. Yet most, for the benefit of others.

There are those named individuals who are known by all who get credit for their accomplishments and that is well deserved. The mother who lives on a rural road or a busy suburban street, who is sacrificing in ways unknown to the onlooker, for the benefit of her children and even more, the benefit of a society, is known by God. And she may never see what she has done. Her children may never "rise up and call her blessed". She may die before that happens and never see the promises that she clung to. Mothers are the unnamed who are routinely sowing their precious seed and believing there will be fruit. There will be. She may not ever see it's fulfillment. Nor does she know that her sacrifices join with many others that perhaps will preserve what little there is left of a society who lives self-governing lives, loving God and neighbor, and living peaceably as much as possible.

The scripture says, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. We have not sailed across the Atlantic amidst the fury of wind and waves. We have not suffered disease, sickness, nakedness, or famine without recourse. And it is less common today to lose a husband at sea or bury our dead children in makeshift graves. We have not suffered greatly for the benefit of another or a whole society.

We are tired when we have piles of laundry. We complain when we haven't been out of the house in a week. We wish for a better stove or more room in our house or new furniture. All saying, don't I deserve?

Some of us do lead lives untouched by severe difficulty. If you are one that falls in that group, by all means you should enjoy! Yet, keep in mind that there are others who are living below you in many ways. They, too, have blessings bestowed upon them but may carry within them their sacrifice or losses. In these instances, a cup of water is wonderfully appreciated.

Either way, mothers everywhere are heroes. Keep seeing the bigger picture and give yourself wholly to it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

You may see it. You may not. Either way, you have to be okay with it.

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