I have often contemplated whether I would have had the grit to have been a pioneer in the Old West, those hearty souls who sojourned to a place they had never seen before, from colonies on the eastern shore.

They traversed rivers, valleys and mountains by covered wagon, to their homestead, the place of their dream of prosperity and happiness.

Many pioneers journaled about their harrowing experiences across the new world. There were many who lost their lives in battles with Native Americans, wild beasts and sickness.

Nonetheless, they hammered on. Their resolve to fulfill a dream drove their ambitious vision. Through stubborn perseverance and resilience, they overcame every obstacle. They forged their future with guts and grit.

How does one prepare for such an enormous conquest? There were no “pioneer schools” in which to enroll prior to graduating to the unchartered land beyond the horizon. There was no access to GPS to advise of looming hazards. They didn’t have the luxury of second chances as a result of foolish mishaps.

They simply didn’t know what they didn’t know. Their zeal for a new life constrained them to seize the day and conquer the untamed wilderness.

As we encounter the changes in our world today, I feel as though we are also pioneers.

With the benefit of progress, invention and innovation, we do not suffer the same dangers of land travel in a new world or battling the elements of an uncivilized society. However, we are nonetheless challenged beyond our experience.

No, we have never been this way before.

Like the pioneer of a bygone era, we also are confronting the perils of the unknown journey before us. We are confronting the challenges of record inflation, energy prices and shortages of consumable goods. We are still dealing with the consequences of a global pandemic. We are listening to the discontent of a restless nation, unwilling to accept a new normal.

The aggression of the Russian military has the world on alert. There is saber rattling from other countries. The migration of people across the world to our southern border challenges our national security and weighs heavily on our humanitarian relief ability.

The hopelessness of many of our citizens has resulted in a drug epidemic, suicide and a mental-health crisis. Our inner cities are plagued with violence and crime. Solutions to so many of our contemporary problems are stuck in neutral. We have not traveled this course before in history. Yes, we too are pioneers.

The singular thread that binds the pioneer of yesterday to the pioneer of today must be an indomitable spirit, that dogged determination to press on and through the barriers that circumvent success.

Conquest isn’t for cowards. It will take the most robust commitment from each of us to achieve the goals we enthusiastically undertake.

Our nation would have never been built if it weren’t for those brave men and women overcoming every obstacle. Likewise, we must resolve to face a world growing more complex and mysterious every day. Together, we can decode the puzzles of unsolved problems.

With the spirit of our ancestors, let us move forward in anticipation of a new day, brighter tomorrows and renewed optimism.

Have a great week and remember, God loves you.

Contact Jon by emailing IMPACThought@gmail.com. Reach Jon Shonebarger at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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