Day 1 – Memphis

Leave Fairfield, IA 5am… Arrive in Memphis 1pm

Man… I’m a bit overwhelmed by the hours of reflection that took place in the car ride alone, to say nothing of the visit to the historic Lorraine Motel. If I wasn’t so tired I’d write out more of the things Antwan, Jerel and I talked about in the car. I’m full of gratitude for the people I’m traveling with (myself included), who have so much passion and care for humanity and the planet.

Our destination in Memphis was the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel, where MLK was assassinated. We had a tour of the museum, which chronicled the history of slavery and the civil right’s movement in a wall-sized nutshell. We saw an exhibit about some profound black women and their impact in history. The biggest exhibit chronicled the history of the assassination including the man who fired the gun. We got to stand in the room where the shooter allegedly fired the gun, and it was surreal to see the balcony across the street from the window where the shooter stood.

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The most powerful moment was walking on the balcony itself and tracing steps over the concrete ledge where MLK’s body once laid dead and bloody. The ledge was a continuous outdoor balcony wrapping around the side of the building, so people were walking in a line and having pictures taken from below. It felt a bit touristy and profane, which contrasted with the sacredness that I felt being up there. We had been told that up until recently nobody had been allowed to be up there (besides Oprah and a couple presidents), and once the remodel of the museum was finished the balcony would be sealed off again. I felt privileged to be able to stand up there – once in a lifetime.

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As I approached the spot where MLK once laid dead the crowd of people in front of me dissipated and I felt a peacefulness with space to myself up there. The song “Precious Lord” was playing on the speakers and I felt a wave of emotion flow out from my heart. As I stood there slowly tracing the steps of history my eyes welled up with tears. It was an especially rare but familiar feeling. I didn’t feel sad he had died, nor upset by the painful history of oppressed people. I felt love for the Earth and humanity. I felt solidarity with the peaceful-fierce-passionate-warrior heart that exists in Dr King and many beacons of light standing up for truth throughout the world and throughout time; people who refuse to allow the people of Earth be taken advantage of and enslaved.

I was moved, as I have been before in the presence of “Precious Lord,” by this Almighty force holding me in its reassuring arms of love. It inflamed a passion and light in my heart and a sense of purpose to live a liberated life, free of fear and resentment, and to be a beacon of truth for generations of children – children of God – children of the Earth – who deserve to live a life of abundance, creativity, wisdom, and joy.

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