In the fall of 1988 an interesting discovery was being made just north of Kansas City along the Missouri River bottom. Sunk on the river in the 1850s, the steamboat Arabia sat preserved under 45 feet of silt. The river channel shifted nearly one half mile over the 130 years and the remains were discovered in the middle of a farm field, 45 feet deep.
This was our territory. This is the river that made us men. So when we found out about the discovery early in the process, we knew we needed the inside scoop. So we approached the dig site one afternoon with only one acceptable outcome; a close examination of the site. Security was tight and we had no credentials. In fact until someone asked us why we were there, we didn’t even know we were writing an article about it. It just came out. We were welcomed and showed around.
I don’t know what I expected. Maybe guns or dead people or something more exciting. There were only crates of butter, china, salt, and other items intended for general stores up the river. That was really about it. No one even died. Because it was still there and buried with all its cargo, it tells me that life just went on without that boat. There was nothing special about that era. People wanted butter then just like we do now. They were just dudes.
People will look back 130 years from now at artifacts we leave, and will perceive something about us. Will they see only butter and dishes? Likely so. When looking at skin, bones, butter and dishes, it will be pretty much the same. It will all still be here buried and rotting.
But we want to leave more than skin, bones, butter and dishes. We want to live well. And die well. We want to leave something that our kids and their kids will talk about. Legendary stuff. And it isn’t stuff…..it is a faith that finds action in the reality of hard life. So simple, but not easy. Now here’s the chance. So man up.
My family and I are heading to the Arabia museum this summer. Now I’ll look at it as more than just a relic from the past, but also as a reminder to point toward a future goal. Continued prayers for your family.