Finally! A time to sit down and put in writing an actual reflection of our trek….I hope the others will have the opportunity to do so as well….
First I should acknowledge the fact that as I am typing this I am sitting in a room with maps all over the walls: some are maps of the country, others are maps of the world. New England is a small place and I am a small person in a big world. My attempt to conquer this earth in whatever way, shape, or form, is entirely fleeting. We can never “find ourselves” by looking outside somewhere because there will always be another place to go. The answers we seek to this life are more often internal.
Our home stays throughout this trip showed me a lot. They showed me that this world is full of good-intentioned people even in the suburbs where there is a lot of potential to be blinded to the need for Christlike love in urban America. I think a lot of suburbians have a wall put up, maybe not intentionally, but just because that’s what they know, but I know that everyone we stayed with blessed us and their local neighbors, at the very least. So I’ll confess that suburbia is not all bad. It is not all middle-class Christianity prosperity gospel. I’m glad for that.
I was pleased to find, in particular, that I did not meet a single rude person in New York City. Everyone we encountered was helpful and pleasant. Stereotypes are lame. Of course, you meet the occasional shady or creepy guy, but let’s have some grace and stop condemning entire urban pockets for the fault of a minor fraction of the population.
One highlight of the trip for me occur in the Bronx. Last semester I read up on the Rastafarian faith and did a presentation on it as well. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with a Rastaman (they aren’t dime-a-dozen). I began to see the real value in learning about other religions and how I can have a positive impact on their followers (and how their followers can benefit my own faith). Now I am considering Religion as my minor.
New England is a pretty region of this planet. The people that we met there were laid back and made me feel welcome. Interviewing my interviewee in Rhode Island gave me a lot of perspective on the challenges that I am passionate about. I learned that to achieve a big goal and make a big change, one cannot proceed alone. The expertise and various gifts of others must be implemented into the project collaboratively. In Carlisle this summer, I don’t want to make big changes; I want to make small changes (by the world’s standards). I still want to strive for social justice and loving of the neighbor, but I just don’t want my ego to be fed from it.
All of our hosts taught me about hospitality. They were all so excellent at it and I hope I can one day visit all of them again.
Also, Maine had a sweet beach and we all cut our feet because we sunk so far into the shell-filled sands.
Frisbee is now the greatest sport on the face of the globe. We got so much practice in.
I got a taste of what it’s like to be a touring musician as well. More of that will come this summer, but a brief little introduction to that career gave me some invaluable insight, at least practically speaking. Our musical adventures throughout this trip were very fun.
Now, I am even more interested in writing as well. Perhaps as a “future vocation.” I prefer not to know my future though. I’m quite the opposite of many people in that respect, but I don’t like to know what’s going to happen or what I’m going to do. So far, that mentality has blessed me a lot. Not only am I never disappointed, but I always value the adventure all the more.
Thanks to the career center for support, and thanks to our hosts, fellow musicians, those who followed our trip, etc.
PS – We kind of have this running lie on the footage we shot where I talk about every giant building as if I own it, every statue as if it is me, every city as if I founded, established, discovered, or conquered it. Let’s be honest. Again, I am a small person trying to make small changes on earth and in people for the Kingdom of God to be advanced a lot. I mean no disrespect to any founding father, historical figures, national events, government “authority,” American citizen, or any other human being or human action. Just a disclaimer. I swear my ego is not that big