Girls do what needs to be done

16 Oct

womepioneers-handcarts-833354-gallery{Image via LDS Media Library}

I stared down the hill, about 20 feet down, a roughly 45-degree incline. It was steep.

It was also the only way to access the park nearby my house. The next closest park is a 20- to 30-minute walk, and I didn’t have time for that. My one-year-old wanted to play on the swings, for goodness’ sake. So I did what needed to be done: I gripped the handle of the stroller, tilted the front wheels out so the baby would stay level in his stroller, and carefully plodded down the hill. When we were ready to go home, I slowly backed up the hill in the same fashion.

As I trekked down and then up the hill, I thought of my pioneer ancestors. Some of my ancestors traveled from Europe to the United States and across the plains to Utah. And I’ve heard many stories of other pioneers in the larger story of Mormon pioneer heritage.

Whenever I hear these stories, I am struck by the strength and resilience of the women. Many men had to leave to serve in the Mexican-American War; some also went to serve missions elsewhere; some died. Meanwhile: The women literally pushed through the wilderness, suffering hunger, cold, illness, persecution, loss of loved ones. They comforted and mourned with their sisters and brothers who experienced similar suffering. They cared for the sick and afflicted, bore children, helped deliver other women’s children, led and nurtured their families.

As a teenager, I participated in a pioneer trek reenactment, a two-day journey that involved pushing and pulling handcarts through California’s foothills. Toward the end was a “women’s walk” where all the men and boys had to go ahead and leave us girls to pull the handcarts on our own. Whatever difficulty we endured was miniscule compared to that of the real pioneers. It ingrained in me a deeper appreciation for the grit and faith of those who came before me.

For example: A brief life sketch of one of my ancestors, Anne Halling, notes this:

“Two days after they started West, Peder [her husband] died on June 27 1856. It was hard for Anne but she continued. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley in September 1856.”

I wish I could know more of Anne’s thoughts and feelings, but I am grateful to know of her example. It was hard, but she continued. She did what needed to be done: She followed the prophet and journeyed with her family to Zion.

Then I look back further in my heritage, and I come to Eve. I come to one of the most cherished (by me, at least) statements by an apostle about Eve and the implication of her choices on womankind and mankind:

“Happily for them, ‘the Lord said unto Adam [and Eve]: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden’ (Moses 6:53). We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve’s great courage and wisdom. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise.”

Eve was wise enough to recognize that she, Adam, and their future children could not progress eternally without partaking of the forbidden fruit. Though she didn’t fully understand what the consequences would be, surely she knew she would face a harder life than she had in the Garden of Eden. Yet she chose to do what needed to be done.

When I’m faced with decisions, with steep hills both literal and figurative, I look at the girls and women who came before me, and I know that I can do what needs to be done.

 

(Note: Emphasis added in quotes above.)

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One Response to “Girls do what needs to be done”

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  1. 31 days of GIRL POWER | spifftacular. - October 24, 2014

    […] Day 9: Girls do what needs to be done […]

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