Ponder & Dream: A definition
In short my blog title refers simply to reflection; on life, faith, history, great deeds, small deeds, the meaning of conflict and sacrifice; life in the past and how it bears on the future and today.
It was my love of military history that brought me to the phrase that entitles this blog and comes from a quote by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain- a favorite Civil War commander of mine.
“In great deeds something abides… And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field to ponder and dream.“
At the start of the Civil War Chamberlain, a common man, knew nothing about being a soldier. He was a professor of rhetoric at Bowdin college in Maine and rose to the occasion when duty called. His most noteworthy moment was perhaps at Gettysburg where the 20th Maine under his command held the Union left flank on Little Round Top. He was later promoted to General and was eventually elected Governor of Maine after the war.
The quote was from a speech Chamberlain gave at the dedication of the 20th Maine monument at Gettysburg describing how future generations will come to that battlefield, now peaceful and “deathless”, to ponder and dream about the actions of those who fought there. But I like the relevancy this statement has to all of life and history. Most of us will not live lives that are recorded among the great deeds of history, but most likely we will have to rise to some occasion in our lives and do more than we want to do or thought we were capable of doing. In reality, that is all Joshua Chamberlain did. In my own life, my faith in God is a big part of having confidence that I won’t have to rise to such challenges alone. That knowledge inspires me, but also pondering the notable figures of history and what extraordinary spirit led some to do more than they thought possible. “Ponder and Dream” then, seems like a good title to capture my approach to this blog.
This is a digital drawing of Joshua Chamberlain done completely in Photoshop to mimic pencil.