Here in Utah today, July 24th is celebrated as Pioneer Day. Meant to commemorate the Latter Day Saint Pioneers who trekked across the country in horrid conditions to establish a land of worship free from the destructive influences of certain groups in the east. Many Latter Day Saints trace their lineage back to those pioneering saints with pride. I have been living in the western United States for fifteen years now and this whole long time I've felt I have nothing in common with these people, either with their pioneer spirit or with their pioneer heritage. However on Sunday, while listening to the wonderfully delivered talks at Church, it struck me as otherwise.
I am a pioneer of sorts. I am the first member of the Church in my family. I, alone, hauled myself and my wedding dress onto three different planes just 8 days before my wedding, to travel from Nova Scotia, Canada to Rexburg, Idaho where I was to meet my husband-to-be. I can assure you it took no small amount of faith and fortitude to follow through with my plans.
I am also the child of pioneer ancestors. I daresay, most of us who live in North America can claim such. In my case, my father's grandparents came from Ireland to Boston in the 1850's because of the Great Potato Famine; and my mom's parents came from Scotland to Toronto, Canada in the late 1920's. My Grandpa even made his away across the ocean blue in an cattle ship because he could not afford passage on a more suitable vessel.
My Grandpa made the journey for love, as the love of his life, my Gran, had been brought to Canada by her parents. My Great Grandpa on my Dad's side made the journey hoping for a better life for his family and their children.
I joined the Church despite my family's disapproval, and took myself far away to be with the man I loved, though many forces conspired against me.
One day, perhaps, my children or their children, will contemplate Pioneer Day and in doing so, won't just be proud to say that they can trace their lineage back to the early Mormon Pioneers through their Dad's side, but will also include me and my ancestors as a source of Pioneer Pride.