MAP18 was a success, a journey full of numerous lessons

Georgia

Southeast / Georgia 16 Views

Terrence Lester.

MAP18 was the most difficult journey that I’ve ever undertaken. It was filled with struggles and challenges and changed the way I see race and poverty in America.

Over the course of the month-long journey from downtown Atlanta to Memphis, I was threatened, almost hit by an angry motorist, had the police called on me for looking suspicious, and walked through some of the toughest towns in the Deep South.

However, there were also touching moments that will forever remain in my heart. My wife and children supported and thousands of people around the country took a stand with me as I took steps on behalf of the poor and marginalized.

There’s an old adage that goes something like this, “A family that prays together stays together!” It was first coined in the early by Father Patrick Peyton, an Irish Roman Catholic priest and founder of the “Family Rosary Crusade.”

Peyton was a popular and charismatic figure in Latin America and popularized the phrase “The family that prays together stays together” in the early 1900’s.

Without damaging the integrity of what Peyton was trying to communicate, I’d like to alter this phrase just a tad.

While walking on #MAP18 to bring attention to the poor and vulnerable, my wife and I have learned that not only does “a family prays together stays together,” but also “a family that sacrifices together must also endure burdens together.”

I love my family, and I know this journey has been hard on them like it has been hard on me.

In fact, if you know me then you know that family and friendship mean a lot to me. My family is my heartbeat and I don’t call a lot of people friend. But, if I do call you friend then I do really mean it.

Over the last 23 days, my wife and children have had to endure some of the same hardships that I have experienced. Why? Because whatever I carry they carry as well.

For instance, on the last walk to Washington D.C., they were able to walk with me and experience the walk too, but on this walk, we felt that it was safer for them to be present but not walk.

There were a number of lessons that my wife and I learned a result of this journey that I’d like to share.

First, we’ve learned that when one person in the family is called to a mission, everyone in the family is called to that same mission.

It must be agreed upon by everyone in the family to carry the load and sacrifice. If everyone is not on board, then it will make the mission even harder. As a family, we all feel like this is what we were assembled to do together as a unit—serve those who are forgotten.

We’ve also learned that when one person feels pressure, everyone feels that pressure. One of the ways we maintain strength is by reminding each other of our original commitment to finish what we’ve started no matter what the outcome is.

Finally, we learned that if children are present, they are watching.

On day 22, my daughter wrote me a note about what she is learning from watching my wife and me.

She said, “I’m learning that when we take care of those who are poor, God takes care of us.” Each day, I’m not only driven by who I’m fighting for, but by who is watching me—my children.

There was one MLK quote that kept me going every time I thought about stopping, “If you can’t fly then run; if you can’t run then walk; if you can’t walk then crawl; but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

These words helped me to finish strong at the Lorraine Motel and say words on behalf of the poor. I’m inspired by MLK and will continue to fight against homelessness and poverty when I return to Atlanta.

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