Sunday, June 18, 2006

Battle of Pea Ridge

From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. -Psalm 61:2-3

The view from atop the Pea Ridge National Military Park is breathtaking. I took it in (along with my handsome tour guide) over the weekend. It was an experience I'll never forget.

Pea Ridge was the site of an 1862 Civil War battle that saved Missouri for the Union. It's one of the most well-preserved battlefields in this country, and looking across the site you can easily imagine how bitter and beastly and bloody the battle must have been. Beyond this picture, the footing in some parts is treacherous. Where I stood, rocks jut out of the side of the moutain like daggers. I would hesitate to hike the site where I snapped this picture; I certainly wouldn't want to do battle there.

And yet they did. On this ground, men aimed their cannons and lost their lives to see a cause fought and won. For some of them it was their final battle. For others, it was one of many, and they went on to cry their battle cries from every end of the country.

I can't imagine what a Civil War battle must have been like. I really can't. It's hard enough to wrap my mind around some of the daily battles I fight. After all, it seems like we have our hands full waging our everyday battles. First we take on the enemies we can see. We battle against deadlines. Laundry. Bills. Kids. And then at the end of the day - when the gunsmoke clears and everyone puts down their weapons for the night - we battle the enemies we can't see. We fight loneliness. Defeat. Exhaustion. Desperation.

It's not just you. It's all of us. Some days it seems we've set up camp in the middle of Pea Ridge. And some weeks it feels we're unwilling and untrained soldiers caught in a bitter, beastly, and bloody battle.

But it's okay. It is. It will all be okay. Even though our hearts grow faint, there's always a place - there's always a Rock - that is higher than the battlefield on which we're encamped.

And as you can see from the picture, even the worst of battles don't last forever.

Oh! sometimes how long seems the day,
And sometimes how weary my feet!
But toiling in life’s dusty way,
The Rock’s bless├Ęd shadow, how sweet!
O then to the Rock let me fly
To the Rock that is higher than I
O then to the Rock let me fly
To the Rock that is higher than I!
-Erastus Johnson, 1871

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the tour guide, but the tourist was exceptionally lovely! Thanks Brin, for a wonderful day of exploring.

-M