It’s getting increasingly harder every day to maintain a positive attitude and outlook, especially when your daily newsfeed is filled with negativity and hints of outright hatred. At times, the stuff in the news can make you sick to your stomach. It’s certainly not an easy task, but try not to let anyone or anything shade your world. Always remember that thunderstorms are temporary.
Growing up during the 60’s and early 70’s in rural Virginia made it difficult to keep a sunny outlook, especially for people of color living in a society that tried to make you feel inferior or secondary.
When I was a little boy I had a revelation during a school field trip. One of my most memorable field trips was when I was at Robert E. Lee Elementary and our class went to the beautiful Luray Caverns, approximately an hour or so drive from Charlottesville, Virginia. If any of you have never been through this part of Virginia, I strongly urge you to put it on your ‘to do’ list. Traveling through Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains is priceless, simply heaven on earth. As a little country boy I was awestruck as I couldn’t stop looking out the window as our chartered bus made its way along the scenic Skyline Drive through the mountains to the Luray Caverns.
As long as I can remember, I’d always been a nerd and had a crazy thirst for knowledge. Regardless of where I was at and whenever I had a chance, I would read newspapers and various magazines in waiting rooms, ect. About a week prior to our school field trip to the Luray Caverns, I had read an article in a magazine about the Emmett Till murder. This was the early 70’s, and this particular article touched upon the approaching twenty-year anniversary of this American tragedy that was one of the sparks which ignited the Civil Rights Movement. Reading this piece as a little boy of color, the article sadden me greatly.
My thoughts and outlook slowly began to change. I kept asking myself how could people be so cruel to one another. Then, about a week later, the very moment our class and a big group of other tourists stepped into the enormous Luray Caverns and was surrounded by the gigantic stalactites and majestic stalagmites, my little kid mind instantly thought how equally tiny we all were in this massive, magnificent cave.
From that moment on, every time I heard or read about a group or someone trying to belittle someone else in an effort to make themselves feel superior, I wish that they could take a trip to the Luray Caverns, step inside, and see how, in the big scheme of things, how we, as human beings, are so very equally small, and that no one is bigger or better than anyone else.
As I grew older, I always try to check out the local natural wonders in my area as a reminder to myself that I, too, am very tiny in the big scheme of things and that I am no better than anyone else. – Randolph Randy Camp