In the past three weeks, I've spent something like 48 hours in the car. While my Hyundai may shake and squeak after the equivalent of two entire days on the road, the travel has left me thankful for the journey.
In the movie "The Road," based of the book of the same name, a man and his son journey across the post-apocalyptic United States looking for civilization. Instead, the run across thieves and cannibals. With each step, the father becomes more focused on his and son's survival. While he tries to reinforce to his son the value of humanity and self preservation, the man seems to jeopardize his personhood at every turn. I'll leave the end for those who want to see the movie or read the book.
One of the son's constant refrains is a belief that he and his father are "the good guys," and are looking for more of the same. The constant pain in the movie is the son's growing realization that his father's desperation challenges his own goodness, as well as his ability to protect his son.
My own journeys over the past few weeks lacked the peril faced by the father and the son. But at times, whether alone on the drive or chatting with friends, I found myself looking for the good guys (and good gals). The reason we traveled to Altoona for Katie's ordination? Because of the love in our community and commitment to one another. The reason we turned around to take part in Charlie's baptism? Because of the love in our family and commitment to one another. The reason we took time to go to Amber and Tyler's wedding? Because of the love in our old friendships and commitment to one another. The reason I went back up to VA a few days later for another interview? Because of the love of the calling God gave to me through the community and our commitment to it.
You see, what I found is, like the boy on The Road, I found myself looking for the good guys (and gals). Even more than that, like the boy, I found myself wanting to become one of the good guys (not a gal this time). Part of the journey on the road is looking for a community to belong to, and learning to become more like that community.
As members of the church, this means our journey is one of constantly working to create and seek out Christian community, even as we seek to become more Christlike ourselves. On the road, to truly find the good gals (and guys), we are also on a journey of becoming better ourselves, of being made more into God's image. Even as life's little apocalypses seem to bring us face to face with terrible trials and temptations, the journey helps us to find new beginnings, even in the midst of the ends of all things.
Driving up and down the interstate is surely not struggling across a barren wasteland. But in the midst of both, hopefully were are still looking for, and hoping to become, good guys.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.