What 113,000 Steps Around Washington DC Showed Me

It was Saturday morning and slightly overcast when the van with 7 students and 4 adults heard an alarming bang under us. Our driver carefully brought the 75 mile an hour trip to a halt on Highway 20 heading to Dallas Love Field Airport. The tire on the Mercedes van was shredded, and the wrenches on hand to change the tire were the wrong size.

We had a feeling this might be an eventful trip.

We made the flight in the nick of time and landed in our nation’s capital, wondering how do we navigate to our hotel on the outskirts of Virginia. The Metro was going to be our best buddy to and from the sites and hotel, but upon arrival we learned someone had walked into the tunnel ending their life and shutting transit down for the rest of the day. It was a sad beginning to the CHS senior trip.

In the pouring rain, we scuttled to the nearest bus. With silent prayers in our minds, we hunkered down and kept believing for a better rest of the week.

The next morning it was sunny skies and 70 degrees, and we were excited to see the city and learn what we could about the nation we live in.

I’d been here before. My own senior trip was to D.C. in 1987, and I have a photo to sum up my posse’s attitude.

richard fish and others from southside christian school at capital sitting on steps from 1987
(I’m seated center in case you can’t figure out whose who. [cir. 1987])
richard fish and 4 other men on the steps of the jefferson memorial
(Attempted recreation with senior guys from CHS and friend Chris on far right.)

Walking the 113,000 steps with the seven seniors from CHS was a different experience than three decades ago. One, I don’t remember much. Two, so much has happened in our nation and world in the last three decades. Three, my perspective has changed.

My feet ached after treading miles of sidewalk each day. Ripping off my shoes and socks and slipping on my slides in the evening was nearly euphoric, which probably motivated the last one mile walk at the end of each day from the Dunn Loring Metro station to Homewood Suites. I’m pretty sure I need to invest in better walking shoes. My Adidas Superstars may get shelved for a while.

close up of adidas superstars on richard and amy as they are walking in DC

The pain in my feet, however, is a small sensation I feel standing in solidarity with those who trekked blood-splattered fields and roads paving a pathway of freedom for me walk.

Each day we strolled by cemeteries filled with people who gave themselves completely to something they would die for. The enormous monuments stood erected as symbols of overcoming something important I’ve not first-hand experienced. Etched in the granite, marble, and bronze are words from the dead prompting us to remember because what happened then could happen again.

My shoes scuffed the walkways around Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Kennedy. I grazed past the warriors of the world wars, and my rubber souls squeaked on the marble under the Constitution, the Magna Carta, the scrolls of the Torah, the writings of Martin Luther, and the translations of John Wycliff.

One word kept leaping off the stone and paper engravings of these iconic memorials —Tyranny.

Many of our dead leaders stood face to face to tyranny and prevailed. They saw something perhaps I’ll see again in my lifetime, and a question shall arise within my own spirit. Will I die for freedom against tyranny? The liberty I walk in today was worth it for my ancient leaders. Will it be worth it for me?

Webster’s 1898 defines tyranny “… as the exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice, or not requisite for the purposes of government. Hence tyranny is often synonymous with cruelty and oppression.”

statue of thomas jefferson at the memorial in DC and focused on the word tyranny

My walking around D.C reminds me, tyranny can show up in a variety of ways of which I should be watchful. Carved out of the stone 50 feet above the ground, Jefferson’s eyes gaze on this quote he penned, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

I’m resting back in Texas, feet propped up and comfortably tucked into my Minnetonkas. My mind, however, is still contemplating what sacrifice will I make for the common good of my fellow man?

This weekend will end, and walking into my normal routine, I’ll have the choice to love, serve, and look after the interest of others. I think you’d agree, even small gestures of kindness require sacrifice. How can I expect to lay down my life for a “great cause” if I can’t lay down my rights for the good of others now. We all need God’s help to truly love well.

Thank you to all who prayed for us during our seven day expedition around our nation’s capital. We had a beautiful time both in experiences and in spirit.

What’s coming up next?

CHS School Spring Formal, Blessing Ceremony, Graduation … oh yeah, Amy has to finish teaching and grading before mid-May as well!!!!!! Pray for her!

Audrey arrives Friday for summer break. She needs to pass her driving test to get her license during the month of May, and she hopes to earn some money this summer to put towards a car or her college tuition next year if needed.

I’m prepping for some speaking engagements: sermon for our weekly gathering on Sunday nights; a week teaching on “THE CROSS” for our School of Evangelism, as well as oversight for our Advancement office.

We are so incredibly blessed to have you all supporting us through prayer and financial support. Day by day, the Lord provides, and we continue to trust Him for our needs for our family and ministry.

You are loved.

richard and amy fish at mount vernon with view of potamic river behind them.

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