Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Frontier of our Spirit: Deciding to Go On

Not so many miles north of where I live here in Central Nebraska there is the little village of Bartlett. Bartlett was established as a pioneer town out on the Nebraska prairie frontier, not so different now, I suspect, from the frontier days in which the town was established. I have an old record book which tells me that in the 1890's a small group of people were trying hard to keep a Sunday School open there in spite of hard winters and few people scattered all across the prairie. As the fall weather began to turn to winter on the plains in 1892 the people holding the little Sunday School open decided to hold a meeting in which people could vote as to whether or not to keep the Sunday School alive. In the afternoon of Sunday, October 25, 1891, that group of 39 persons gathered to make their decision. I would imagine there were pros and cons, differences of opinion, maybe a divided sentiment. When the vote was finally called for the records say this: "It was decided by vote for the Sunday School to go on."

It would be a great thing if all our 'goings on' could be decided by a support group of family, friends and even neighbors. Sometimes it can. But not always. Sometimes we face our "going on" alone after a divorce, after the death of a loved one, after a mistake or crisis or a failure. Friends and family can often affirm a decision we make but sometimes we are the only ones who can make that decision. It is then our faith takes hold, our confidence in ourselves is renewed and we become aware that "Nighttime is only the other side of daytime."

Sometime when you're driving through the scenic wonderland of north central Nebraska, you'll come to the little frontier town of Bartlett. What you'll see, in addition to other mind-boggling mysteries and magic, is a little church where 119 years ago a pioneer group of 39 souls 'decided to go on." Just like you and I can every day, out on the frontier of our spirits.