Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recap of this Incredible Journey

 I have finally settled back in at Eau Claire once getting back from the Civil Rights Pilgrimage.  WOW. I have unpacked, started doing laundry, and have finally sat down for the first time and soaked everything in about what has happened during the past 10 days.  This incredible experience has just flown by and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to all the coordinators, donors,  Jodi, as well as all the wonderful people I was able to meet this past week.

The stories, memories, tears, and laughter that I experienced this past week is indescribable.  To say that this trip was memorable would be an understatement.  This trip has changed me for the better and taught me some incredible life changing lessons.  One of the most impactful experiences on this trip for me would be when we went through the slavery reenactment in Selma, Alabama.  I didn't realize how emotional I would become.  We were belittled, cussed at, and overall were made to feel like absolutely nothing.  What emotionally struck me the most was when one of my very best friends was chosen out of the line of "slaves" and had to "kill" two additional people in the line up.  Even though I knew all of this was just an act the emotional guilt and anxiety I felt during this reenactment was overwhelming at times.  Walking away from this reenactment and Selma, Alabama I realized how truly blessed I am.  Sometimes it is so easy to take for granted the small things in life.  This reenactment reminded me of the importance of living each day to the fullest and always being thankful for the opportunities that are presented to you each and everyday.

Another part of the trip that left an extreme impression on me was when we went to Memphis, Tennessee and looked at where MLK was killed along with being able to listen to Reverend Billy Kyles speak about never letting your dream die.  In Reverend Kyles speech he kept referencing the famous quote, "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." ~Langston Hughes. This quote really sat with me throughout his speech because he reminded me of the importance of never giving up on a dream.  One of the greatest parts about the Civil Rights Pilgrimage is that many of the places we visited we have read about in text books or learned about in a history class, but nothing can compare to a personal experience one can have by seeing actual historical places in our nation's history.  No test, book, or lecture in any classroom can prepare me for what I heard, saw, and witnessed this past week.

I start my school day tomorrow with what I feel is a fresh perspective on life.  I carry these remarkable stories on my shoulders now and I am ready to continue sharing these lessons and memories with anyone who will listen.  I see my greatness and I am ready to share it with the world. As Ms. Bland reminded us all (pictured to the left) we are all a jigsaw piece in this giant puzzle of life.  I need to fulfill my piece of the puzzle or it will never be complete  This trip was immeasurably rewarding for myself and I know so many others.  I am blessed to have been able to participate and meet so many outstanding men and women of our nation's history.

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