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Number 8

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"Where dreams are the stuff reality is made of"


by , Editor


Last month I talked about how my journey to be a woman had finally ended after a lifetime of yearning and five years of travel. But what happens AFTER the journey ends? Once you find yourself where you always wanted to be, what then? The quest to discover who you really are is not unlike many other epic adventures.

For a parallel, lets look to the pioneers of the American West. They, as we, had plenty to leave behind. Most were business people, family members, participants in organizations and clubs. For the most part, they had not ventured farther than the next county before in their lives. So what drove them to embark on a dangerous trip into the unknown, from which they might never return? What would move them to leave behind all that they had ever known, all the comforts of home and the relationships they cherished, just for the chance at a new life?

The question holds the answer: they left for a new life - a new beginning that might lead to something better than before. They did not hate what they were leaving; they simply saw the limitations of what they had and the potential of what the might find.

So, they packed their belongings and sold what they could not take. They said goodbye to loved ones they might never see again, turned to wilderness and stepped bravely into the unknown.

Bravery is not to act without fear, but to act in spite of it. Our pioneer ancestors were not fools. They did not make the decision to leave lightly, nor did they minimize the risks. But they felt that the potential rewards outweighed those risks. So they held their fears in abeyance and bravely let go of a normal life.

Yet the risks were very real, and many were lost along the way. There were those who had hardly just begun before they were stricken, and others who succumbed just as they glimpsed the Promised Land, never to set foot upon it. Even for those who arrived safely, the effort itself changed them forever.

Most of these pioneers only had a vague idea of where they were going: a state or a territory, no more specific than that. So, how did they know when they arrived? When they crossed one more range and saw below them a green valley, or a wooded plain, or a seashore, or hill. And something about that vision matched the picture they had in their minds when they started. They stood on the mountain crest, drank in the dream made real and said, "We have come home."

You see, there really was no destination until it was found. And what defined the destination was their decision to stop there. For some, it was just what they had been hoping for. For others, it was the best they found before their motivation ran out. The longer the journey, the greater the toll.

This was my story last month as I had crossed a final divide, took a look around and said "I have come home". But what now?

Once our pioneer ancestors arrived they didn't just sit in their rocking chairs and watch the seasons change. No, the same motivation that lured them from the secure comforts of the old life, drove them to make something of the new.

These hardy individuals, men and women and children, did not pause to rest in the shade, but immediately began a new quest: to build a home in this new land - a home that would be all they had yearned for. Just arriving didn't bring the reward of a better life than they had left, it just gave them the opportunity for one. But now the real work had to begin.

But it was a work of joy because they reaped the benefits of their own toil. This was a land in which one person could make a difference. A land of freedom and potential. But with that freedom came the threat of the wild. Seasons could be harsh, and wolves could kill. Yet through it all, the joy prevailed. They cleared, and built and planted and reaped. And there came a day when the harvest was in and there was more than they needed. This was the day they could pause in their labors and celebrate the bounty of the land. But then, it was back to work again, for one harvest never hold enough to carry until the next without continued effort.

In the end, their happiness was not measured so much by what they had, but by how they lived, and the times they shared with others.

We too are pioneers - Social Pioneers. And we leave behind all that we know and love, for all that we dream and yearn for. We face the dangers and some are lost along the way. Those who survive cross one last divide to find the place they will call home. Like our ancestors, we Social Pioneers have been changed by the experience, but have not lost our dreams. Still, those dreams are not fulfilled by ending one journey, but by beginning another. Now that we are here we have a frontier to tame: the New Frontier of the human spirit. It can be no less treacherous than the wilds of the continent, but its potential rewards are no less great.

So, I have set down stakes. I am clearing, building, and planting. God willing and the creek don't rise, there'll be fields in the Spring and a harvest in the fall. Perhaps one season there will be enough extra to pause awhile and celebrate. And if I am so blessed, I can think of no greater joy than to share that moment with you, my sister Social Pioneers of the New Frontier.

--- Copyright 1993,

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May you never find occasion to say, "If only....."

The Subversive #8

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Melanie, Editor

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