“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:4,5).”
Last night the fam sat down to watch a movie, as is our custom on the weekends. Since we were celebrating the Independence Day holiday, we decided to watch a flick we picked up from the library called “In Search of America”, a 1971 made-for-TV film.
The movie is the story of a 1960s era family whose oldest son Mike convinces to go on a journey to find themselves. The vehicle for this trek is an old 1928 bus which is to to take them throughout the land.
With the title, you would think the viewer would be treated to scenic sights, large cities and beautiful nature in an ongoing travelogue. Yet, the bus stops fairly close to the beginning of the trip at a Woodstock clone, complete with hippies, marijuana and “love”. The bus doesn’t leave the place until the end of the flick.
Frankly, the movie was a bomb. My oldest son, at the closing credits, said, “I want my hour and a half back.”
When the bus arrives at the rock concert site, the family parks next to people hitting the self-destruct button. For example, Nick and his pregnant significant other Anne are attempting to have the baby on site based on what they read from a book.
The worst case, however, is Kathy. Her real name is Susan Chandler. Nineteen=year old Susan has run away from home because she doesn’t want to face a lifetime hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine.
As the story develops, Mike’s mother Jenny tries to convince the resistant expectant couple to seek a doctor’s help. In addition, Susan’s parents hunt all over the camp for her. She needs her dialysis, or she will die. Yet, Susan refuses to come to them.
In the meantime, Mike is falling for Kathy/Susan. He eventually aids and abets her deluded attempt to run from her trouble and her parents, almost until it is too late.
Finally, in the climax to the movie, Nick allows Jenny and Mike’s grandmother to help deliver the baby when things get dicey. Furthermore, when Susan deteriorates to a dangerous point, Mike seeks help for her.
All’s well that ends well. Mother and child are fine. Susan is in the hospital recovering, and receives a visit from her new friend Mike. And the fam is off in their old bus for a new adventure, which history never records because the pilot was so bad no network in its right mind would pick it up.
Despite being a travesty, the film did have some lessons to teach. One is that we need our families, and that the “evil parents” actually do want to prevent us from ruining our lives. In fact, the flick teaches that they may actually have some wisdom.
Another lesson is that when we feel like dropping out, there is the Lord. My wife commented during the movie that the characters were “sheep without a shepherd”. This is of course the view Jesus had of a large crowd of people as His boat landed. When He saw them, He was moved with compassion. The Scriptures say Jesus “began teaching them many things (Mark 6:34)”.
Some people would be better off if they listened to what Ma and Pa and the Lord had to teach. For example, our parents and the Scriptures tell us to get off our rears, get to work and stay out of trouble. If we don’t, the Bible says instant, incurable disaster will strike (Proverbs 6:6-15). Now that’s a warning to heed!
Pharoah was warned repeatedly by Moses and God that ultimate disaster would strike if he didn’t let the Israelites leave Egypt. It took the death of all the firstborn of Egypt and the resulting loud outcries to get him to obey God (Exodus 12:29-32).
Pharoah had his finger on the self destruct button, and he was determined not to take it off. God did it for him with the death of his own child, yet Phaorah later put his finger back on the self destruct button again, resulting in further chaos (Exodus 14:26-28).
When we’re lost, we don’t need to tune in, turn on and drop out like the characters from “In Search of America”. Usually, our families are there, but even if they aren’t, God is there to catch us as we fall. We can let Him stop us from self destructing and learn what He has to teach us (Psalm 27:10-11).
Probably the most important lesson we can learn from God is that He is the Truth we should be seeking. The answers to life aren’t to be found traveling across America or any other country.
In fact, we don’t even have to leave our couch. We just need to look up.