My mom never told me not to talk to strangers on the Internet. If she had, my life would’ve turned out drastically different.
My dad wouldn’t have driven me—on his 40th birthday—to a golf course down the road from our house where I would, presumably, meet a boy I’d never met face-to-face. Running on pure faith that he wasn’t a child molester.
Well, maybe not that much faith. He turned out fine.
I don’t remember how it started six years ago. The beginning doesn’t matter.
What matters is that my parents have, for as long as I can remember, trusted me to befriend the right people. Whether they live 20 minutes or 20 hours away. Doesn’t much matter.
The fact is, I’ve met so many wonderful people through this crazy Internet thing. And a lot of them are doing absolutely awesome things with their lives.
More than two months ago, Max decided to travel the country. Counting on the kindness of strangers to carry him from one end of America to the other. And about a month ago, he stopped in the middle of Ohio to pick up Lauren—a girl he fell in love with through the Internet—for the ride. The two of them are devout Christians with a love so intense it puts a lot of people to shame. A lot of people.
And as they drive through the country on a wild road trip that many openly disapprove of, I am giving them major credit. Because even though I have never met these two wonderful individuals, they taught me one of the most valuable lessons:
That Christianity does not demand perfection. That to sin is to be human.
I’ve lost my way, steering toward all the other directions in life that are screaming out with flashy lights and bright colors for me to come toward them. They’re more exciting, more real, more right-here-and-now-oh-yeah. I have trouble sitting still, reading a book that wasn’t published within the last ten or fifteen years, and going on blind faith that in order to be a good Christian, you don’t have to be perfect.
For some reason, it doesn’t matter that making mistakes is in our nature, or that I’ve heard people write that and tell me that hundreds of times. Even Miley Cyrus. Or should I say Hannah Montana?
For the girl who makes her share of mistakes on a daily basis – yes, daily – but has a boatload of trouble accepting herself for them, this is a big deal. World changing thinking. My shins will thank you for stopping me from kicking them (figuratively speaking, of course).
Nobody who wanders the world on the generosity of others has everything perfectly tied up. And neither does someone who jumps in the car to follow, ready and willing to leave her city behind. But that’s good. That’s what’s real.
They don’t devote every single moment of their lives to other people. They devote a lot, but not all of it. They’ve both stumbled through moments in their pasts and they’re both trying to figure out what they want in this world, but they know they’ve got God in the backseat, making sure everything is safe.
They have houses to crash at, friends to depend on, and love to hold onto and spread out. And you know what? If Jesus had a car thousands of years ago, you think he would’ve passed that up in favor of walking across the desert for 40 days? Yeah, didn’t think so.
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