Jesus in humanity in Memphis

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I ran into Jesus in downtown Memphis; he joined me for breakfast and told me his life in the radio business, bit also his life on drugs. He told me about working on the family farm. He told me about his estranged cousin & brother, the last remaining relatives he has. His weathered eyes and hands told their own story.

I could have easily dismissed the opportunity to have fed Jesus, but he was hungry for food & for his story to be told.

Christ in humanity reveals himself all the time. Are you just praying for such opportunities or are you reaching out to him in tangible expressions of love for humanity? Something to chew on.

~Nathanael~

Stepping into history can be heavy; Martin Luther King Jr/Memphis

On Friday last week I went to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. As soon as I left the parking lot it felt heavy, as this was the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

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Before even getting here, I the lover of history knew about this site from what I learned in history in my younger years. But reading about such places has a different weight to them, going to such sites can be so heavy.

In case you’ve never been to the museum it goes like this. You park, you walk in the parking lot outside of Martin Luther King Jr.’s room, you go into an underpass of sorts, go into the museum, make your way to the a higher level and there you are in the area where James Earl Ray was staying and conditions of this place are such so it’s presented as it was back then! The bathroom and cracked window in the above photo is where he was when he fired his rifle across to the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out…it is eerie for many reasons, it is very matter-of-fact as to what happened.

It was heavy for me because I think about a lot of things, and when I think about individuals who have moved in the direction of progress, a LOT of people die in their prime for what they believe and stand for; Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr…the list goes on.

There’s something to living for what you believe, and I truly try to live out what I believe as a follower of Christ on a daily basis. Yet there’s also something to living what you believe even if it costs you your life. I don’t think I have any threats against me, I’m a peaceable person and don’t get into a lot of arguments. I passionately dialogue and discuss things out, and so I don’t think I’m someone worth targeting despite perhaps coming from a different stance from different people.

Still those who are martyred for what they believe hold admiration on my part, now suicide bombers who martyr themselves do not hold any admiration, perhaps that’ll be another blog post for another day.

***

Martin Luther King Jr. studied the peaceful protesting methodology of Mahatma Gandhi, and he was also a follower of Christ. His words and speeches are prolific and well-known, and he exemplified St. Francis of Assisi’s words “make me an instrument of your peace”. Being where he was when he gave up his spirit and passed on was awe-educing, the silence of that place was deafening. I too want to live out a life of being an instrument of peace, as well as progress for humanity. How will that all look? I don’t know fully know yet, but I am getting to where I need to be in life and I have God to thank for that.

~Nathanael~

Memphis 10-10 to 10-13

I’ll stay in Memphis – Elvis Presley

Thursday morning at 9:05am I left Oswego IL for Memphis

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9 hours, 540 miles later I arrived at my friend Jimmy‘s apartment. He was already chillaxing on his porch in wait of me (perhaps). I was quickly introduced to Andrew, Cory, and Gabe. Ate dinner, built community, laughed a good deal…and before I knew it, it was nearly 2am!

I jumped in my rental car and headed to T.O. Fuller State Park, 20 minute drive I arrived to my campsite and…cleared out my backseat and fell asleep! Reader’s note: The back seat of a 2012 Toyota Corolla is more spacious than it seems, especially when it comes to sleeping.

I woke up to a barred owl hooting above my car, freshened up and set up camp and then headed out to Pho Hoa Binh for some inexpensive Vietnamese food for lunch. Best $6.22 I have ever spent on Vietnamese buffet!

Memphis being a town chockful of history, I decided to go the Civil Rights historical route and went to the National Civil Rights Museum, the site in which Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It was heavy being there, getting an overview of the Civil Rights movement, the bullet shell/pellets/rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald…it was heavy, and almost for me too much.

The following day I was a part of the I’m Sorry Campaign at Memphis Pride.  Now as someone who’s used to a large crowd and large parade ala Chicago Pride, I wasn’t really expecting that small of a parade.  Still the element of it ending in Robert R. Church Park and there being booths for all different groups/vendors that was enjoyable. I made the rounds to the various churches, I was given a lot of thanks for my participation in the I’m Sorry Campaign and several invites to visit them the following day for church.

Sunday morning I went to Corey’s house church and had a good time. They asked a random question; “what is your earliest memory?” While I didn’t give mine, I did give the one surrounding being on America’s Funniest Videos with my sister at the mall in the early 90s.

All in all it has been a good trip thus far 🙂

~Nathanael~

Making plans/Life happens sometimes all the time

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. ~ John Lennon

Truth to be told I like structure in making plans. I do have moments of spontaneity of just “going with it” some times, but I like plans and making plans. I, however, do not like hiccups in my plans, either personal or external, it works it way under my skin and I get irate and I have panic attacks because my plans have been thwarted.Yesterday was one of those days where nothing seemed to have gone my way. I did not like it, and I was worked up in frustration and anger for not getting my way. Yet grace was given to me by Jimmy, my foot in the door contact in Memphis and the I’m Sorry Campaign: Memphis edition. As soon as I realized I wasn’t going to be getting out to Memphis on my schedule (am I saying my too much? I just want it to bear witness to my internal chaos) and subsequently I wasn’t going to be able to cook for him or his roomies…he forgave me, he thanked me for communicating that I wouldn’t be there. He wasn’t upset! He was more full of grace to me than I was to myself!

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Now even though I am a cynical asshole to myself and to others sometimes, I get grace, I really do. Do I get it every time? Whether the getting grace or getting the nature of grace, no, but I’m trying to get grace like that on both accounts. I don’t write it off as southern hospitality as to why Jimmy was kind, I realize the grace I believe in so much of the times others do too, and when they extend that grace to me in moments where all my plans are shot down, it is a balm, it is a cool drink of water on a hot summer’s day. Grace, I love it, and need to extended it to myself more often equally as much as I extend it to others.

So here I sit on my couch in IL for the last time in 20 days contemplating grace and BEing in grace, and I like it. Any ounce of anger or frustration is gone. Life happens sometimes all the time, and I need to allow room for error, but I also need to allow room for grace to myself for things not going as I would have liked it to.

Lesson learned, moving forward and upward and down to Memphis. I’ll be there today, at least I plan on it.

~Nathanael~

Tennessee Vacation

Tomorrow morning bright and [not so] early I will be starting a 20 day vacation out to Tennessee. My itinerary at this point is sporadic with the only definitive plans being:
– Memphis Pride on Saturday
– Spending time with friends in Nashville
– Jack Daniels’ 25th Annual World Championship Invitational Barbeque in Lynchburg

I hope to go camping, hiking, swimming, BEing, writing, blogging, dining out, networking…it’ll be a blast 🙂

Follow along here and via photos on Instagram (my user name is nvphotography).

I will be doing some blogging per what I’ve started plus some new things that have been buzzing in my head like bees, it’s time to deal with the swarm of thoughts.

~Nathanael~