Most stories actually begin before the beginning. Think about it. Every story you read picks up with the character already in progress. That’s how life is too. We come into the world plunged right in the middle of a story already in progress, and we are left to determine our role in that story. Robert Bolling is no exception. So, to get a bit of the back story, I spent today (6/15/11)  in Jamestown (and Jamestowne). You may not know—and I didn’t until I began researching him—that Robert Bolling is the great-great-great-grandson of Pocahontas. Apparently, she had an amazing impact on his life or his heritage because he named two of his children Powhatan and Pocahontas. Again, I am reminded of the legacy of a life.

While at Jamestowne, I had an amazing privilege to listen to a wonderful interpreter. She reminded me of the many reasons people came to America in the first place. Yes, many came for religious freedom. But for many of the passengers, a driving force was what they were going towards and what they were leaving behind. Many of the initial settlers were second sons receiving no inheritance or laborers with no hope of advancement. For these people, America offered the chance to leave “having nothing and going nowhere,” and come to a place where in seven years, they could earn their freedom and learn the skills which would make them successful in life. The interpreter made one statement that especially stood out to me.  Speaking to us as “fellow indentured servants,” she said, “One day, you’ll be out working in the field, and you’ll crumple in a heap and start wailing, ‘I miss England!’ And then, I’ll be there to remind you what you have here. There, you worked yourself to the bone and had nothing to show for it. Here, if you can hold on, you will have land—treasure beyond your wildest dreams. And it will be better for your kids and better for their kids. And some day, some snobby gentry will come over and start touting their lineage and ask where they came from, and your descendants will be able to point to us—the ones who made it through that voyage and struggled through the starving time—and say, ‘I came from them.’” As a descendant of those who made it through those times, I, with Robert Bolling, can point to those settlers and say, “I came from them.” And if he felt anything like I do about that heritage, he was proud indeed.

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