Monday, October 5, 2009

We had Into the Wild for a few days before we finally sat down and watched it. We didn't realize it was 2.5 hours long before we started it--only when we hit the two hour mark and it felt like there was still a lot of movie left. This movie feels long, but it raises some very interesting questions. (It also has some language and nudity--not recommended for children) It's not the cheeriest movie, and I don't have a great compunction to head to Alaska having seen it, but the inward journey is fascinating. If I do go to Alaska, let's just say I will pay attention to what kind of plants I'm eating, if it comes to that.

The story is based on a true story of a young man who graduates from Emory University and then decides that Harvard Law is not a very appealing option. His home life growing up was tumultuous, and he heads west to seek solitude and peace in nature. He meets some interesting characters and tells some great stories, but there is a sadness wrapped around all of it. He is lost, and searching for answers to the emptiness he finds within himself.

The part of the movie that hits the hardest is towards the end, when he realizes that true happiness cannot be found alone. Unfortunately, by that point he has left his relationships behind, believing that what he sought could be found within.

I have been thinking about this ever since we turned the movie off. It's tempting, at times, to run off and be alone, and it can be good for short periods of time. But ever since the Garden of Eden we have known that it is not good to be alone. We are a communal people, and we thrive in community.

It's beautiful to watch the church work together, be it at the yard sale, preparing for it, gathering around those who are sick or mourning, celebrating together; those moments are snapshots of the body of Christ, coming together as a community, supporting and loving one another. We are accountable to one another, we depend on one another, we trust one another. Alone we can find ourselves lost, but together, we have others to help us find the path, or at least to sit and weep with us while we mourn our lack of directions.

We are the church. Christ has assured us that He is there when we gather in His name. True community can only be found when we gather together, honestly, relying on one another to forge a path forward. It takes varied experiences for each of us to realize how valuable the love and support of a community can be, but I know that I would be lost without this treasured community of saints.

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