We came here 24 years ago because of an invitation. We stayed because we settled.
That sentence may sound less than inspiring, but like much of the appeal of the Midwest, its meaning is deep and its significance beyond first glance.
The word settle might connote giving up or giving in. It may bring to mind an idea of resigning and accepting second best. Why settle in Lincoln when there are more exciting places to be?
It all comes down to perspective.
If I had used the word pioneer to describe our decision to stay here, would that have sounded different?
Our state was settled by the pioneers many years ago. They set out to find new opportunities. They were looking for a place to establish a better future for their families and generations to follow. But they eventually had to come to a point of decision if they were going to make their mark and see this dream come true.
So the pioneers became settlers. They settled the land by planting seeds and trees that the following generations would enjoy in greater degree. Those trees sent down roots, standing as a metaphor for their efforts. Settled land is solid land. Settled decisions are solid decisions. A settled mind is a made up mind, and from there, it goes to work, laying foundations and building upon them, establishing the means for others to benefit and prosper.
We came here because of an invitation but we stayed because we settled. We saw the culture in Lincoln was conducive for what we wanted to achieve; to do meaningful work and raise a family. So we settled in. We bought a home and raised our children in it. It’s the only house they knew growing up. It’s a shrine of memories that are priceless to us. It’s a choice we’ll never regret.
And just because we became settlers doesn’t mean we gave up risk and adventure. Nine years ago we leveraged everything we owned and had saved to begin the journey of opening a small restaurant in a faltering economy on a dead-end street. Not exactly the wisest move we could have made, but then again, loading up a covered wagon with supplies for a westward journey into primitive land that was noted for high plains winds, fierce summer thunderstorms and brutal, harsh winters made our decision look like nothing in comparison.
Now that our family is raised, we still desire to do meaningful work and it appears that our city still offers us that opportunity.
And that’s why Lincoln.