Sunday, January 17, 2010
DAN'L BOONE: SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT FAILURE AND SUCCESS...
Lately I have been reading about this man. His name was Daniel Boone, and he has become an almost mythical figure from American history. There were legends about him even in his own lifetime, but the bare truth of his accomplishments makes a story more compelling than any fiction.
If you will indulge me, I would like to share a few facts about this man's life. I think there is a lesson the old "Long Rifle" can teach us... even today.
By all accounts he wasn't tall [Probably he stood about 5 feet 5]... His voice was said to be distractingly soft. It was said that there was nothing about him physically that would leave a lasting impression.
At 34 years of age, he was deeply in debt and failing as a farmer. His whole life had seemed like an uneventful failure. It was at this time they say he actually gave up. He decided to pay his debts, pack up his family, and head for a land to the west he heard about called, "'Kaintuck."
It is a historical fact that with his bare hands he cut a road through the wilderness to allow others access to the lush western spaces beyond Appalachia. He established a town called "Boonesborough" and fought man, beast and nature to preserve it... until the area was populated and secure. He was, interestingly, a professing Christian who had been raised in the Quaker faith. His brother and he became Baptists later, and that same brother served as a preacher to the community he had founded.
He served the colonies as a militia officer during the American revolution. In 1778 he was captured by the Shawnee Indians who adopted him into their tribe, giving him the name Sheltowee (which apparently meant "The Big Turtle").
In his writings he claimed to hate all violence and bloodshed. It is worth noting that he was famously sympathetic to the plight of the tribal indians of his time, even though he had lost two sons in frontier indian wars.
At the age of 70 he got tired of the crowds and moved to the St. Louis, Missouri, area seeking "elbow room." It was in many ways a second career for him as a town builder. Remember... this was at age SEVENTY!
In 1820 at the age of 86 he died.
Now consider this. This man had left the Carolinas, and failure, and never looked back. Facing complete uncertainty he marched west and into history. He helped in no small way to mold and establish a part of our nation.
So... what would have happened if Daniel Boone had been a successful farmer?
Now... I don't know about anyone else, but this story kind of amazes me. I mean it really makes me think. If we could see the "big picture" of our lives I suspect we would very possibly find that our "failures" were often the catalysts that pointed us toward a new and great beginning.
I find that encouraging, don't you? Whether we've had a disappointment in business, a physical setback, a significant human loss or a even a failed marriage [Ouch!]... in all probability God Himself may very well be opening up a new world of possibility to us. What a wonderful thought!
Thank God for creating a universe that has made room for all manner of second chances! [...and third and fourth and fifth and... you get the point... LOL]
In any case... I tip my hat to the old frontiersman's example...
Thanks for livin' it large, Dan'l!
"Many heroic actions and chivalrous adventures are related of me which exist only in the regions of fancy. With me the world has taken great liberties, and yet I have been but a common man."
"I can't say as I ever was lost,
but I was bewildered once for three days."