I saw Boyhood while #RunningTo took me to a coffee shop in High Point, North Carolina. I watched all 166 minutes of it on my laptop. I’m sure the baristas were wondering what in the world was with that bearded wanderer who kept erupting into teary hysterics.
I could write a dozen blog posts about the film itself — the simplistic plot, the real-life aging of all the actors, and comparisons to my own boyhood. Maybe someday I’ll write those other blog posts.
Today I want to focus on my favorite scene from the movie. The part where an 18-year-old Mason saddles into his blue pickup truck and goes on a road trip. He hits the road for college, leaving behind his chaotic family life in search of new horizons at college.
It is a long drive into the dusty mountains backed by an anthem about heroes.
Throughout my nine months on the road, I’ll be honest, I felt like something of a hero. For the first time in my life, I felt like I’d conquered something, and other people were looking up, pointing at my triumphant silhouette.
I was living many people’s dreams, traveling all over. I was doing something few people ever do, leaving behind normalcy for this unpredictable life on the road.
What’s more, I was connecting with my readers — you guys — across all corners of this country and even some corners of that country to the north. I was fielding Facebook messages and emails left and right. I was an event to be anticipated, a marked box on people’s kitchen calendars.
And what’s even more, I was meeting other people with similar struggles. I write about struggle in abundance, after all. In many cases I was these strugglers’ only confidant, and several actually uttered the word “celebrity” in my presence. I felt so humbled to walk into their story.
Ever since my road trip ended, though, I’ve felt less like a hero and more like a zero — maybe more accurately a two or a three, but that doesn’t rhyme. Point is, I haven’t felt very heroic the last couple months.
I feel cut adrift most days. I feel purposeless. I lose hope. I give into temptation.
I still struggle.
By the end of Boyhood, Mason needed what all of us need from time to time. A fresh start. A new story. A chance to forge a new destiny with bold mountainous scenery.
A chance not to be someone else’s hero, but an equal.
It’s hard being the hero. It’s hard conquering sin and struggle and pain and loss.
Sometimes I figure stuff out, and I try to give God the glory.
But sometimes I don’t know the way out. Sometimes I get so effing lost, and sometimes I just want to run and hide from God. Run and hide from you all.
It was a privilege meeting so many of you from coast to coast. To inspire you amid your own stories of struggle. Months after crossing my road trip’s finish line, I remain in awe that God would use my story to inspire yours. I’ll never need another ounce of proof for God’s existence than that.
I’ll be your hero sometimes.
But I need you all to know that I don’t have this figured out yet. I still search. I stumble. I mess up. Now that I’ve stopped road-tripping, I wonder what I’m doing or where I’m going.
Sometimes I just wanna hop in a pickup and run away and search and fight and walk with everyone else.
I hope you’ll let me go.
I hope you’ll search and fight and walk with me.