SELMA, Alabama // There has been a recurring theme I have noticed as I have journaled on the road trip. Three specific and unrelated events that all seem to be part of a larger story.
While talking to my grandparents about our upcoming road trip it came up that the Shular family had made the cross-country trek many times out of necessity, not pleasure. My grandfather was in the Air Force and was stationed at different bases regularly. My father went to 4 different schools in the 6th grade alone. They traveled in a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville - 2 adults, 5 kids, and 2 dogs. Definitely not a pleasure trip like ours. They started discussing the missions my grandfather had been on when he was my age. How the planes would eject two pilots up and two pilots down when in trouble and depending on how the plane was going down that was a good thing for two people but probably not the others. Life or death. A flip of a coin. A flip of a plane. I comprehend the danger but have never felt that kind of gravity in my decisions. What college should I go to? What should my major be? Will I get a job? Insignificant details that always work themselves out. It was a grounding conversation to say the least.
The second feeling was nothing more than a chill I got while walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 80 degrees of sunshine. This bridge moved the civil rights movement forward. People marched this bridge peacefully. They marched for what they believed in. They marched with the knowledge that violence most certainly would meet them on the other side. They marched anyways because it was what they believed in. We must honor the past or we are sure to repeat it.
I read an article our friends Stephanie and Steven wrote from Tanzania for "The Other Journal" about National Coffee Day. It hit on points about the separation between product and producer as well as the producer and consumer. They recounted a story where a man had grown coffee for over 50 years on his land and had never tasted the commodity. "In the West, we depend on coffee to keep us awake, but here, it is to keep them alive".
Everyones work and lives seem more purposeful than mine. What is my purpose? What do I believe in? Those are tough questions but I think asking them may be a step in the right direction. For now I will just try to learn from each story. What am I grateful for: Life, Freedom, and Nourishment // Food and Shelter along our adventure.
Link to Stephanie and Stevens full article // Give it a read