The Goonies, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, Forrest Gump…these classics were just a few of the movie locations we researched ahead of our epic three month jaunt across the United States. My wife and I had specific instructions and detailed maps regarding exactly how to find the square in Georgia where Tom Hanks sat on that bench with his box of chocolates and the exact spot in Oregon where Chunk performed the famous truffle shuffle. (I admit, I did it too, and the wife filmed it – it had to be done!) It was a blessed time; a dream come true for a couple of film fans. You think we might have had enough following our movie themed wedding, but no!
We also faced challenges along the way; scary moments that would result in us relying on, trusting in and counting on God more than ever before. Like inadvertently driving eight miles down the wrong road late one night in the middle of New Mexico and getting stuck. We had pretty much reached a dead end and it was too dark to attempt driving back up. It was a dirt road and we weren’t even sure our little camper van could handle the climb. Stranded and alone, scared and anxious – the headlights that were shining in our direction for the majority of the night from a hill ahead of us in otherwise total darkness made it impossible not to think about all those horribly unpleasant, desert set horror films. We felt as though we were in one.
Another night, on failing to find a campground, we were forced to pull over in a cowboy-esque saloon bar car park in Arizona, as drunks filtered out well into the early hours. The ‘rent me’ text on the side of our van made us look and feel way beyond vulnerable, as we lay there silently in our thermals, occasionally peeping through the curtains praying no-one would be too bothered by our being there. I was often aware of my expectation as a husband in such circumstances – to comfort and protect. We didn’t have an awful lot in the van that would have been useful in a situation that required self defence. My dirty boxers? A road map of the USA? Jason Bourne could maybe have used the latter to good effect, whereas for me it would probably result in nothing more than a few self inflicted paper cuts.
We also had a Bible, which we read every day. It spoke of how we can grow closer to God in the tough times; the testing times. If everything went swimmingly all the time, what good would having a God even be? We discovered that the word ‘faith is called that for a reason. Reading God’s word enabled my wife and I to realise that He never puts us in a situation we can’t handle. It also makes it clear that life is never going to be an easy ride. We went on to encounter feisty alligators in the Everglades and Bruce Willis and his bald head in New Orleans. As Christans, we take the rough with the smooth. 🙂