How does one Regent student reckon with moving from his lifelong country home, to an urban area?
My heart raced as I stood in an empty building on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. I stood on the precipice of the future, and it presented me with two possibilities. Was I to take the easy way forward? Granted, it was not what I had dreamed, but it contained a beautiful simplicity, and its rhythmic humming enticed me. To my left was the road I had dreamed of ever since I had first and last seen it as a child. But the road would be constantly pushing against me, trying to bring me back to where I currently stood. Taking a deep breath and forcing a smile, I let my foot easily slide onto the simpler path. The downward escalator it would be. After all, I could just as easily come back and walk down the up side.
The next fifteen minutes were divine. I went up the downward escalator, walked down the upward escalator, ran up the upward escalator, and rode both directions in awe. I had been dreaming about this moment my entire life, and I took full advantage of it.
I had only seen an escalator a couple times before. The first time, I was with family at a mall in Pittsburg while on vacation. From that time until college, I was in-between escalator experiences.
My freshman year at Regent, I saw one again, but I didn’t get to ride it. Finally, during Campus Ministries’ Urban Plunge missions trip to Nashville, Tenn. in 2015, I had my chance. We had set up base camp for the trip at a mega-church in the area, and it contained an escalator (right next to the baptismal waterfall) to allow members easy access to the second floor. When I saw it, I knew where I would be during part of my initial free time. I was a complete kid and still am.
I am mentally and emotionally committed to playing on an escalator again if I have the chance.
Allow me to explain.
We don’t have escalators where I live. Goodness, I thought it was fun just to ride in an elevator, and didn’t get to often. I’m from a rural area, commonly known to those from the land of eight-story apartment complexes as the “country.” We went “to town” to get groceries and other necessities. Needless to say, there are some differences between “town” and “country,” or more specifically, between Virginia Beach and Churchville. I want to talk about those.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the least country people you’ll probably find on my side of the state. I’ve even been called a prep back home. That being said, though, most people aren’t from the country. At Regent, I’ve been called a “hillbilly,” “hick,” and “country boy.” Whatever you want to call me, I’d be happy to take you on a little tour. Let’s look at the differences between urban and rural cultures within the same state. Let’s walk down the up escalator.
Sam Morgan is a staff writer for the Daily Runner.