Posts Tagged ‘history’

Indian grinding rock  398-3 ---7-28-80

Image by km6xo via Flickr


Next to my house, right outside my office window, there are rocks that jut out from the soil that are peppered with Indian grinding holes where presumably Mi-Wok women sat for hours grinding acorns into flour that they then used to make flatbread.

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of time it must have taken for them to grind out those holes in the rock. I’m sure there were indentations in the rock before they began, but now every one is a regular round shape despite its depth that shows anyone looking at them that they were formed by the same methodical movement of rock on rock.

Some of the holes are deeper than the others revealing that they have been worked on longer, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they were indeed used by those women to make the acorn flour to feed their families.

There is never a time that someone comes to my house for the first time, and doesn’t comment on the rocks and their Indian grinding holes. It seems to surprise most people that such an amazing part of history can be located in such a pedestrian place as behind a small cottage in a small town.

Even though we have a wonderful state park dedicated to the preservation of the Mi-wok Indian culture at Chaw Se Indian Grinding Rock State Park that’s located about an hour away, my house is hardly the place where you would think you would see such a reminder of the past. In fact, I think that since the history of the little town of Murphys where I live is intertwined with miners during the Gold Rush, along with grape growing and wine making now, most people seem to forget that the Mi-Wok actually lived here before all that began.

Even though we all know there’s a history to every place we live, we seem to have selective memory and think that that history began when we arrived, which is a really odd thing when you think about it. And, even if we somehow have some sort of concept of the history of where we live, it only goes so far back. Like in Murphys when people only think so far back as the Gold Rush, when not only did the Mi-Wok people live here before the Gold Rush began and California became a state, but it was actually a province of Mexico before the Bear Flag Revolt.

There’s so much we don’t know. Yet, we seem to live as if we know it all, or, at least most of it, which is a really strange mental state of affairs when you think about it. And, it’s not just in the U.S. that we’re this way, you see it all over the world.

Scripture makes it very clear that we are here today and gone tomorrow, a mere vapor in the timeline of humanity or the Universe. Yet, we live in such a self-absorbed way that we’re convinced that our lives are so much more than that, when in reality most of us will leave less behind than those Mi-Wok women who spent their lives grinding out the grinding holes under my office window.

That’s why it really is remarkable to me that the only One who does survive time, and transcends it, should care about each and every one of us vapors. So much so that He not only looks down on us with a kind heart, but looks down on us with love, a sacrificial love, which is really what love is all about, to sacrifice oneself for the benefit of the one you love.

He not only looked down on us with the type of love in His heart, He did something about it.  He came down and showed what His love was all about by sacrificing Himself so something so insubstantial as vapors can have the chance of having a relationship with Him that goes beyond history.

“I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Ezekiel 37:27

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There’s an old saying that history is written by the winners. This may be true. In our day and age, I think it may be written for convenience at the price of accuracy.

I’m thinking of an amazing story from the Korean War in which almost 1,000 orphans were airlifted out of Seoul on December 20, 1950. An amazing feat essentially orchestrated by one man and his God.

A movie was based on this event showing this incredible story that encompassed courage, hope, desperation and miracles in the commonplace, all within a 24-hour period.

There is only one hitch with this movie and it’s a big one, in the portrayal of the saving of 1,000 orphans, it  features the wrong man. According to his own memoir, Chaplain Colonel Russell L. Blaisdell who was helped by Staff Sergeant Merle Y. “Mike” Strang was the person who orchestrated the event.

That wrong was finally made right over 50-years after what has become known as the “Kiddie Car Airlift” took place. Just this past December 2009, Blaisdell was honored in Korea for his bravery and compassion in helping to rescue those children.

The story is phenomenal and his memoirs, “Kids of the Korean War – Father of a Thousand” tells it all, the fear, the work, the desperation and the faith. It is impossible to not see the hand of God woven throughout it.

I can think of other examples in which the wrong people were given the credit for things they didn’t do, or the people who orchestrate a wonderful benefit to the community, either worldwide or small town, were ignored, then forgotten in the rush to tell the story.

People get forgotten.

They do fantastic things and not only don’t get acknowledged, they flat-out are forgotten. Sometimes the rest of us never know what they do because it just doesn’t come up. Their stories aren’t always made right the way that Chaplain Blaisdell’s was.

Sometimes there is only one who sees, and He always knows what the true story is.

No matter who gets the credit, we can be assured that God knows, He sees, He cares and no matter what, He is always ready to praise us for doing what’s right even if He’s the only one who sees it.

And, that’s all that really matters anyway.

“You are aware of all my ways.” Psalm 139:3b

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