March, for many reasons, is a significant month in our family.
The month brought a mark in my history, as well, in 2005.
It was an unexpected blessing when I found out I would be traveling to London and Eastbourne in England on a business trip with a special opportunity for sightseeing on the weekends.
Never in my biggest dreams, did it ever include a trip to England. (And I dream BIG!)
Our company was merging information from the UK office and the USA office that required concentrated networking.
A week of intense meetings was sandwiched in between two tourist packed weekends of sheer bliss.
As we began to explore the land, it was an unforeseen reaction to feel like my feet were touching the soil of ‘home’.
Surges of inner excitement came over me again and again as we scurried from one land mark to another.
I was taken aback by my historical entanglement of emotion; it was not anticipated. A connectivity that I did not know existed came to the surface of my heart and mind to ponder.
I knew my maternal heritage came from English shores and so I went prepared to explore, in case there was a time of connecting. Being part of a group, you bob like a buoy as the group takes on a leadership of its own.
However, the second weekend we toured South East England which showed more hope for a personal destiny.
Some 375 years prior, my Great + Eight Grandfather, William Clark,
stood on the same shores of the English Channel,
where I then stood, ready to board a tiny ship ready to sail the Atlantic.
The “Mary & John” set sail in March 1630, (20 years after the Mayflower) with my ancestor,
William Clark, who was 21 years of age at the time.
In my home, I started collecting models of old ships early in my adult life, without awareness of my personal story that would someday unfold. My spirit was drawn to the adventures at sea even at an early age and influenced my decor.
Now, standing on the same shore in March 2005, overlooking the great body of water, I wondered…
… What time of day did they depart?
… When did they hear the last sea gull?
… What was it like to experience their first sunset?
… Did they feel fear, the first night of pitch black with the sound of water slapping against the ‘boat’?
… Was he seasick?
… Did he keep a diary?
Daydreaming and gazing over the water as it sparkled in the sun, I marveled at their courage.
No technology as we know it,
no confidence of relatives waiting on the other side,
little medical knowledge or medicine if needed.
What they had most of all, was TRUST.
Trust in the Captain of the “Mary & John”, trust in their ability to persevere, but most of all, trust in God.
As my research continued, I was surprised to find how much was written historically about William. He became a Judge Lieutenant in his new life in what would become America, and is documented in history as one of the seven pillars of the first church in Northampton.
History books records his life as follows:
“Trumbull called Clarke, “One of the ‘Dorchester men’ who arrived here soon after the settlement of Mr. Mather, he remained, to the end, the firm and faithful friend of his pastor. A man of quiet dignity, self-contained, and ready of resource, he bore a more conspicuous part in the early history of the town, than any others who lived here during the first twenty years of its existence.” Clarke was “one of the most influential among the founders of the town. His reputation as a man of business preceded him, and he was at once put forward in many affairs of public importance, and so continued, a leader, till old age compelled him to give place to younger but scarcely better men. A man of great public spirit, resolute and capable, he was sure to be employed by the town in conducting any of its businesses requiring skill, knowledge, tact, and determination. He was a hard worker, a pioneer in the best sense of the term. Enduring hardship with cheerfulness, meeting difficulty half way, conquering oftener that conquered, he stands one of the most prominent among the promoters of the plantation. Founder of a numerous family that has had worthy representatives during the entire history of the town, and whose descendants are scattered throughout the land, his name I honored and respected wherever it is found.”
His life made a difference in the new land and he left his mark:
“…firm and faithful friend ~ …quiet dignity, self-contained, ready resource, leader, ~ great public spirit, resolute and capable, ~ skilled, knowledge, tact and determination, ~ hard worker, ~ endured hardship with cheerfulness, “
“…whose descendants are scattered through the land…”
To personalize, William Clark left a mark in me.
I am a descendant of William Clark, who was born in England in 1609.
I have his DNA in this earthly body of mine.
William just lived the daily life of his era, but with strength of character and integrity.
No special education,
no grand inheritance.
What he lived cost nothing yet it was priceless.
I have potential to leave a mark in history just living my daily life with strength of character and integrity.
No special education, no grand inheritance… just being a cheerful, hard worker and a faithful friend.
Free and priceless.
It is my responsibility.
I CAN make a difference in my “Moment in Time”.