by: Rich Vaughan
What our world needs today is a lot more Alvin Straights. Who is Alvin Straight? He was the subject of a 1999 movie called, “The Straight Story”. The movie depicts the TRUE STORY of Alvin Straight’s 1994 journey across Iowa and Wisconsin on a lawn mower! A World War II vet, Alvin’s health was not the greatest anymore. His legs and eyes were too impaired for him to have a driver’s license, so he hitches a trailer to his THIRTY YEAR OLD John Deere 110 lawn tractor with a MAXIMUM SPEED of about 5 MPH and he sets off on a 240 MILE JOURNEY from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin.
Why in the world would he do this? Because Alvin had just learned that his brother, whom he had not spoken to in over 10 years because of a difference of opinion, had suffered a stroke and Alvin decided he needed to go and make amends with his brother before his brother died. Since he is unable to drive the only means of transportation that is acceptable to him is the lawn mower. And so this 73-year-old man takes off on his intense journey that Hollywood would turn into a movie five years later.
The “Straight Story” is the true life drama of a man who decides it is time to end the silence, STOP THE HATING, and break down the wall of anger he and his brother had built between them. I think we all need to watch this movie. I mean everyone. Democrats, Republicans, young, old, those on the right, those on the left, those filled with anger, those filled with hate, and those of every color known to the human race. Why? Because it is the only way we are going to fix the problems we have no matter who is elected. Is this totally unrealistic? Maybe. I guess it depends how big our view of God is and how deep our faith goes. Think about this for a moment. Is there a friend you won’t talk to anymore over political differences? Is there a family member you are estranged from due to a difference of opinion? Is there a parent or a child you have walked away from because of choices? Is there a co-worker you ignore because they are not like you?
In 1965, Jackie DeShannon released a song that was very popular. Its lyrics are just as germane today as they were in 1965. The song opened with these words:
“What the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, no not just for some but for everyone…”
I know what you are thinking. This is pie in the sky thinking. This is not possible. No it is not possible. At least not in the world we live in today. But wait, are we saying then that what Jesus preached isn’t correct? That what He commanded we cannot do? Jesus put it simply. “Love God with all you heart. Love your neighbor as yourself”. It isn’t complicated, is it? Maybe if we Christians tried to practice what our Jesus preached, at least part of the world would catch on!