Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Murphys Take Austin: Day 6

[guest post by Kendra Murphy]

It's 9:36 PM (Central Time, obviously) and I'm sitting here trying to get my thoughts together about Memphis. I've had 3 cups of tea, I'm working on a cup of coffee, and I'm thinking about how Day 6 felt long, short, tiring, and relaxing all at once. 

The most important thing about today is that God changed my heart about this whole "in-between period." I knew these few days getting to Austin would be difficult for me, and the days that led up today were proving me right. There were good parts, of course, but the overlapping feeling for me was depression, or more accurately, wanting to curl up in a ball and cry most of the time. Basically, I had no intention of enjoying any time spend out doing things in different cities. Though I can only really speak for myself, I believe my whole family was feeling cramped, tired, stressed, and ready to bite each other's heads off. (In other words, pissy.) 

This morning, we had a family conversation, and I communicated some of my feelings. We talked about some really good things, but they still hadn't registered with me. Right before we left for lunch in Memphis, I went to the bathroom, and prayed while I was in there. Yes people, I pray in the bathroom sometimes. I asked God to help me out of my depressed feeling, and help me see what I needed to think about or do differently in order to healthily enjoy these days. I also asked him for protection against the enemy, because I think he was partially the reason we were having problems.

So out the door we went, and almost immediately, we were showered with Southern Hospitality, and the overall kindness of the people of Memphis. As we we walked and tried to figure out how the trolley system worked, we were stopped by Fannie, who was, as I'm told by my mom, "a tourism helper." She told us where the different trolleys went and even stopped one in the middle of the street for us.  

We went on to the Blues City Cafe after riding around Memphis for a few minutes. It's really a cool city. We got off the trolley right next to the Mississippi River, and then walked a few blocks to get to the restaurant. On our way we passed the Orpheum Theater, which had a bunch of what I like to call, "stars with celebrities on them," in front of it. It was a really awesome walk and we saw lots of sweet, Memphis-y things. The restaurant was also wonderful, and we all left feeling more than satisfied.

Jerry Seinfeld next to Helen Keller.  

Afterwords, we made our way towards the Civil Rights Museum, which is located right next to the hotel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed. I usually find myself apathetic to most historical figures, but I have so much respect in my heart for MLK. I was truly excited to visit this museum. We took the "extended route" to the museum, which took us around a little portion of Memphis so we could see it better. The trolley fare collector, whose name was Jafar (I'm not kidding), was wonderful. He told us things about the different buildings in Memphis, and at one point even chatted with us about the concept of happiness. He was probably one of the most naturally friendly people I've ever met. 

We got off the trolley and started to walk the short distance to the museum. Here, ladies and gentlemen, comes the classic Kendra event that you've all been waiting for. I, being myself, did not take notice of a dip in the sidewalk that was for cars coming in and out of the fire station we were right next to. I stepped on it, lost my balance, and fell down. I got a pretty bad scrape on my left knee. By pretty bad I mean worse than all of the other times I've fallen down because of my clumsiness. While we were trying to figure out what we were gonna do about it, a fireman came down the stairs and said, "are you alright, sweetheart?" He then offered to take me inside, clean up the cut, and put a band-aid on it. We all went inside the fire station, and he and another fireman cleaned up the cut, and put gauze and tape on it. The fireman who had asked if I was alright was a very sweet man. He also had a killer mustache. 

We walked the rest of the distance to the museum, which really was a wonderful experience. We got in, and the first thing we did was watch a 35 minute documentary on MLK's death. During the video, we discovered that the man interviewed during most of it, a close friend of MLK who was present during his death, had been sitting outside in the lobby when we walked in. We had passed him and didn't even know it. We found out later that he comes to the museum about twice a week. After the movie, which was great, by the way, we went through the museum, which was basically a timeline of the entire civil rights movement, starting at the early days of slavery and ending at Martin Luther King Jr's death. 

We took our sweet time there. One of the best exhibits was of the actual rooms that MLK stayed in during his last days on Earth. It really was a moving and informative experience. 

We had accomplished what we set out to do that day: we saw a little of Memphis, ate delicious BBQ, and visited Martin Luther King Jr's death place. We then went back to the hotel, hung out, ate dinner on the roof, watched TV, and just chilled. This is when I would have curled up and cried, but after today, I don't really feel any desire to. God showed me a new perspective today.  And I'm so thankful that he did.

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