As they headed west in covered wagons on the Oregon Trail, they knew that it would be a difficult trip, many times lasting four to six months.
They made good use of every inch in their wagons. The wagons that headed west were not usually the bigger, sturdier Conestoga wagons, so they had to be smart in how they packed it down…rocking chairs, butter churns, coffee, sugar…everything they could stuff in this approximately 7×12 space.
They had raw determination to go West! Something was pressing them on.
They would encounter so much…steep hills where they would have to attach chains to their back wheels, washed-out trails, sickness, mud holes, days without water, and times full of danger.
As their oxen struggled with the 2,000-2,500 pounds, and water was scarce, they knew they had to do something to make it. They would need to lighten the wagon. There were heirlooms and precious items loaded in the wagon…things that they wanted to hold onto.
But compared to survival, some of their prized possessions had to go.
I thought about this statement I read on homestead.org, “It’s said that the Oregon Trail was littered with the clothes, dishes, and furniture the pioneers had to leave behind to lighten the load as the trail became rougher and the oxen wearier for lack of water or food.”
As much as I appreciate the conveniences of today, I feel a lack of spiritual water. I sense the roughness of the trail.
I’ve asked myself the last week What can you unload, Elizabeth?
What is weighing down my wagon? Are there things that I can just leave at the side of the road? Useless conversations inside my head? Unprofitable things that just need to go? Comparisons with others?
Are there issues that have come up? Who did this or who said that? Any baggage need to go?
Would I profit to lay aside any pleasures?
There are some things that may not be sinful, and you may not think anything about as the sun is shining in Independence, Missouri. But when you hit Laurel Hill on the Barlow Road with its treacherous descent, you may want your wagon a little lighter.
What can I get rid of?
I’m a pioneer and a pilgrim. This will take some mindfulness…some intentional living.
What can I lay aside?
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus…