Manfried von Richthofen died in April of 1918; yet ninety-eight years later, he lives on. The German pilot of WWI, better known by his moniker "The Red Barron," lives on in the pages of my favorite section of our local newspaper. He shoots more holes than I can count in Snoopy's Sopwith Camel biplane. Good Ol' Charlie Brown's beagle dreams of shooting Richthofen's red plane to pieces; yet he can never quite accomplish the feat. Since Schultz is no longer with us, the world's most famous beagle's dream will remain unfulfilled.
Last week, during a trip to western Alaska's seaside village of Scammon Bay, I was privileged to hear a village resident tell a traditional Yupik tale of a persistent raven. The story consists mainly of one beach, one raven, and five large rocks. As the raven walks along the Bering Sea on a quest, the rocks (one after another) roll, each colliding with said raven. The first four boulders break the majestic bird's feet and wings. As the determined feathered traveler pulls himself along the beach with his beak, the fifth and final stone rolls off his head and ends his life. The moral? Don't ever give up.
One cartoon and one traditional story. One beagle and one bird. Anglo and Yupik cultures. One message. Don't ever give up on your quest.
You may feel all shot up or one stone away from defeat; don't give up. You face an opposition with a name, like Snoopy's Red Baron, or a struggle with no name other than heavy, round, and rolling toward you. In order to live the ordinary life, in order to use "your everyday, ordinary life" to the glory of God, the good of those around you, and the pursuit of the goal of a life well-lived, you must persist.
Jump on your doghouse and fly.
Walk boldly on your beach, face set like flint.
Give your best.
And, whatever you do . . .
Don't give up!