Monday, April 29, 2013

Memoir Monday~ Glacial Peaks, Alpine Creeks, Gunslingers and Gold Miners: How the West Was Lost Part 2

Hi there and welcome to another Memoir Monday!

Thanks for stopping in for "part 2" of my reflection,
"Glacial Peaks, Alpine Creeks, Gunslingers and Gold Miners:
 How the West Was Lost."

Part 1 is here
if you've not read that yet and would like to.

Now, for part 2~~~

The Lakota Sioux have a saying: 
 “There is no death. There is only a change in worlds.”
             Are we truly t-h-a-t different from those called ‘savages’ by the white man? 
By those who wished to own the land? 
By those who wished to rule and change?
 By those who thought themselves quite superior? 
Who came to this new land to escape brutality and suppression themselves?
            And here’s a challenge: 
 How my husband and I respond to our nine year old, 
our sweet altar server and choir boy, as he states with firm conviction, 
“There is a special place in hell for General George Armstrong Custer!”  
after touring Little Bighorn Battlefield, 
scene of the ‘last stand.’ 
The bloody rampage between the cavalry and the Plains Indians
 in June, 1876. 
And yes, the spot where Custer met his infamous demise.
 Just one week before our country’s bally-ho, 
 over the top centennial celebrations.
            Truly, may God bless America.
            And to our twelve year old, 
who replies to his brother, 
“A special place.
 You got that right, dude.”

             How hard it is not to just agree. Not to condemn. Very hard. At any age.
            But with you, there is forgiveness, so that we can with reverence, serve you.    Psalm 130:4

            As you stand 
in this place and absorb  the inextricable connection 
of the beauty and the legends 
to the violence and the abuse.
            As you look 
from the tilted battlefield monuments and the headstones
 in this already searingly hot Montana dawn
 and you see tears streaming down the faces of those around you
 on the ranger-led walk.
  Then you realize that you, too have tears.
            Because this is it.
 This is t-h-e cowboy and Indian show-down.
 This patch of grass encapsulates the West for so many the world over 
and draws more foreigners than Americans. 
They want to live and breath it as well.

 Well, we live and breath the shame.

            This is not your toddler playing with inch high plastic figures. 
Half donning colorful headdresses, wielding tomahawks. 
Half in spiffy painted-on cavalry uniforms, even spiffier, shiny muskets.

 This time it’s real and the last one standing is the one who lives. 
            Well, unless he wears the headdress 
and a name honoring the Earth 
and then he simply wins a place in a dusty reservation. 
Rocky soil, unworthy of livestock. And most of his family,  gone.

            Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life
 and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.  
Psalm 23:6

            Our family journey is now in the past.
             We expected the good -  
visions of our America, natural history, happy snippets of time.
            We expected  the bad -  
occasional cheese-y tourist traps 
and occasional family bickering, of course.
Rain on the tent roof and muddy puddles.
 What we didn’t expect is the ugly. 

That we’d come face to ugly face with our condemning selves 
as we dipped into these tragic pages in our American story.
What is the true ugliness here? 
Is it the raw mistreatment and inhumane acts ?
Or is it us? 

Standing in judgement?

            For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.   Psalm 86:5 

Thank you so much for visiting!

The bloggers who have linked their reflections
shared such heartfelt, inspiring reflections!
As always!

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  1. Beautifully written Chris! Whenever we visit a site that is known for a battle of some kind, it really is emotional. Real evil existed there. Real fear. Chaos. Even strength and courage. Someone wins the battle yet has casualties and then those who've lost the battle. Complete destruction of their lives. And for what? Land? Property? Natural Resources? Enslavement? It is ugly when you think of the reasons man goes to war. Not even to mention the spiritual warfare that is all around us!

    We are so fortunate to have a loving and merciful God!!!!!!!!!!

    1. So true, Noreen! Thank you so much for sharing; you always being deep thought and/or a new perspective.

      Thank you, friend, for stopping in!

  2. Chris,

    Very emotional and thought provoking! Thank you for the second part of your memoir.

    I have to admit we don't know very much about American history. General Custer is just a name to us. (We should find out more!) But we also live in a nation which has a history of conflicts. White colonisation and indigenous people... There are many past incidents that are shameful. I like to think we learn and are sorry, forgive and move on together as one people. It is difficult.

    Cowboys and Indians... yes, children play those games all the time without realising the real story. Our children play them as well. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    God bless!

    1. Hey Sue,

      > I like to think we learn and are sorry, forgive and move on together as one people.<
      esp love this abt your so true! I think as time marches on, this IS time distances us from the past and the shame allowing us to move on together.
      But yes, revisiting it and learning the true horror of the details is chilling.

      Thanks, Sue, for stopping in to comment and for your kind words!

  3. Very emotional post. Why does change always have to include such violence? Sad.

    1. True, Kim; I never really thought about it from your POV...change=violence. Thought provoking...
      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!



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