Life is not a bed of roses as we Pioneer through 2021

OPINION

As the New Year dawns, many of us are just happy to say goodbye to 2020.  It was a challenging year for many of us, but especially for those who lost loved ones or suffered a severe illness.  Yet, it was a uniquely strange year filled with happiness and joy for some who got married or became new parents. 

For most of us, 2020 brought to light the idiomatic expression, “life is not a bed of roses.” This phrase is interesting because although it implies life is not easy, it hints someone has experienced the opposite, or the difference would not be known.  

For example, to the consumer, a “bed of roses” is a fragrant array of colors and beauty, while to the harvester, it is nothing more than a bundle of flowers with prickly stocks.  The experience is in the mind of the beholder. 

Our lives are a lot the same.  How we perceive our world broadly defines the world’s condition in which we find ourselves. For most of us, life is not an endless “bed of roses,” nor should it be.  All of us, from time to time, bask in its beauty and fragrance. Yet, life would be very dull if all we did was spend our time staring at the rose garden. 

Some of the greatest men and women who walked the earth gained most of their faith, knowledge, and experience when life was not easy. Eve figured out this concept herself while Adam was basking in the garden.

Several weeks ago, I read an account of John and Tena  Berg, one of the first settlers in this area, who homesteaded what is now the town of Basalt.  They were married in Logan on March 31, 1893.  Then, she returned home to Ovid, near Bear Lake, to care for her mother, while her newly-wed husband came to Basalt to secure their 160-acre plot of land.

On June 1, he returned with her to Basalt after a three-day wagon trip from Ovid.  They arrived late that day after dark.  The next morning John was abruptly woken to his wife, crying out, “All I can see is sagebrush.”

For the next two years, they removed sagebrush by day and burned it by night.  As there was no water to grow the crops, John and others spent most of their summers constructing canals from Shelley to Basalt to bring water to the land.  It was a hard life, full of uncertainties and disappointments.

By 1900, when the couple had five young children, John was called on a three-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Norway.  Tena worked hard to support her husband and five children.  With the help of friends and neighbors, her children survived many illnesses and diseases common in that day. 

During this time, Tena exchanged wheat for flour at the Shelley Mill, which went bankrupt, and she lost more than 700 lbs. of wheat.  However, Dick Dye, a founding member of Firth, helped by giving her 200 pounds of flour. Joseph Dye, Walter Dye, and John Rider furnished her with several cords of split wood for the stove. 

Her husband eventually returned home, and they had three more children.  However, in 1908, he was called again to serve another 3-year LDS mission as a Regional President in Norway.  Once again, Tena was left alone to support herself and her eight children while running their farm.

As I read about this family, I thought of the struggles, trials, and uncertainty they must have faced. Yet, their faith remained strong and their disposition cheerful as they looked to their future. 

While reading their account, I felt ashamed at what I perceived was my so-called plight brought on by last year’s events. I realized how frivolous and insignificant my trials were compared to theirs and other people around me today. The story of the Bergs humbled me, and I realized something by reading it. 

In today’s world, we fail to understand the baseline of our existence. We assume we’re entitled to a certain level of security, protect or prosperity. When, in reality, we’re entitled to nothing. We were born naked and broke, and we will die naked and broke. Anything more we acquire or obtain in this life is by the grace of God and by our efforts. 

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we should give thanks to our God for the things we have, and we should not take for granted our health, our faith, our families, or our friends.  Because, when this life ends, all we’ll take with us is our knowledge, our faith covenants, and our relationships.

So as 2021 begins, we should make sure our New Year’s resolutions are more about becoming more gracious rather than more prosperous. We should make it a goal to obtain more knowledge and understanding of our world and its people. And finally, we should make it a year to strengthen our faith by serving others and getting out of the rose garden. Because, after all, we are nothing more than the Bergs of Basalt, pioneering a new and uncertain future while maintaining and sustaining those around us whom we love.

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One thought on “Life is not a bed of roses as we Pioneer through 2021

  • January 3, 2021 at 12:29 pm
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    This is very good insight. Thanks for the reality check as we sometimes get caught up in the need to whine about most anything.

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