So last night, I stayed up late watching a PBS special on Lewis & Clark. I love their story. I love the idea of journeying across an unknown continent, seeing things that no one around you has ever seen, has ever imagined.
I love that they went on the Voyage of Discovery for their country. That Lewis was called by Thomas Jefferson to explore the United States, and that Lewis chose his friend William Clark as his traveling companion.
Lewis and Clark took 40 people with them (the Corps of Discovery), and only lost one companion on their two and a half year journey. By the time they reached the Pacific, they were like family. Even York (Clark’s black slave) and Sacagawea (a Shoeshone and a woman) were given the oppertunity to vote on where the group would spend the winter. This was long before slaves would be emanicpated and about 100 years before women would be given the right to vote by our governement.
Unfortunately when they returned to St. Louis, their commaraderie dissapated, and Lewis fell into depression, eventually taking his own life.
But I find their story facinating. It’s inspiring, and extemely patriotic (well, except the suicide part). I love that they were so democratic on their journey. Lewis and Clark could have easily ordered the Corps to go where ever they pleased. Instead they voted. Every single person had a say. I love that they went all the way to the other side of the country, trading with native peoples, learning, seeing new (to them) species. They litterally traveled almost 10,000 miles on foot and by boat. WOW!
After the return of the Corps of Discovery, Thomas Jefferson predicted that it would take 100 generations to populate the United States. Americans did it in only five. I love our spirit as a nation!
So, after the show I went off to bed (after doing a little childbirth education reading), and I started to think about my friends. They are all spread out from me…. Jenny in Texas, Doreen in California, Juliana in Connecticut, Richard in Hawaii, Amy in Kansas, Jen in New York… I’m beginning to feel a little abandoned here in Colorado.
It’s interesting how important friendships are. I believe that God did not intend for us to be alone (He gave Adam, Eve for this very reason). I think the Voyage of Discovery could easily be parabled into a spiritual journey.
This is how the roles would line out… God would be Thomas Jefferson, telling us to go out into the world. And we are the Lewises and Clarks. The smart ones invite our friends along (after all, who could conquer all that wilderness alone). And somewhere on the journey the friends become our family. So when we get to the Pacific in the middle of the winter, we love each other and are no longer “slave or free” we are one family.
We need each other, just as Lewis needed Clark and the other members of the Corps of Discovery, especially the ones who many would think were needed the least (where would they have been with out Sacagawea?). Out of the many members, was formed the Corps of Discovery. Simialrly, out of many Christians is formed a church (Christ’s body).
It’s intersting what happened when the expidition was over and the Corps broke up. Many of the members got married and settled on the land given them as a reward for the journey. Clark was given a government position, and kept York on as his slave (who, by the way was the only person who did not receive a reward). Clark even documented beating York after their return for asking for his freedom. Eventually Clark gave it to him after a number of years. Lewis never married, and as stated before, ended up commiting suicide.
I find this so facinating because as a unit, the Corps did amazing things for their countrymen and the future generations. But when the group broke apart, they failed. I think it’s a great example of why God wants us to be with a body of people.
E Pluribus Unum… latin for Out of Many, One.