“Land” is a movie focusing on a woman in grief. Robin Wright plays a woman who has suffered a deep loss, but we don’t know why. In her grief she moves away from the city she knew and buys a remote cabin in the mountains of Wyoming without any wilderness experience. The cabin is completely rundown, without running water or electricity, and she refuses a vehicle to get her off the mountain if a storm is coming. She goes there to be away from people and it seems that if she dies there, she just doesn’t care.
She almost dies on the mountain. She can’t trap, grow food, or hunt. A bear raided the cabin and she runs out of food. She didn’t store up enough wood and she about freezes to death.
We get a blurry vision of a man entering the cabin, then the man returns with a nurse and they begin to work on the main character to bring her back to health. She refuses to come off the mountain to get proper medical treatment.
The nurse returns to the town but the man (Miguel) makes sure the woman (Edee) is going to make it. He then returns regularly to teach her to hunt and fish and survive.
At one point Edee asks Miguel how he found her. He had noticed smoke from the cabin on one hunting trip and knew the cabin had been abandoned. He figured someone must be in there now. Then, on another trip, he noticed no smoke when it was snowy and cold so he thought there might be trouble. He came to look and found her.
Edee didn’t want to keep living. She asks him pointedly, “Why did you help me?”
Miguel answered simply, “Because you were in my path.”
This one line was worth the movie. (That and how Miguel reacted at the end of the movie to Edee’s tragic story, which I’ll just leave at that.)
It was probably the timing of watching the movie that made the line so deeply moving for me. I had come back from a week in El Paso, TX hanging out with people heavily involved in ministry to the least of these. People working with the homeless, the handicapped, the illiterate, the immigrants, and more. It was a part of being in ministry I miss most and it is work among people that will cause a lot of political saber rattling. It is work among people we will have our high-minded opinions about in our social media feeds, but too often we will actually do anything to extend a hand.
Tired of the political wrangling and the bloviated opinions of fellow believers who easily make fun of places like El Paso without ever stepping foot there, I was so lifted spiritually by being around amazing people who simply wanted to be the hands of Christ in some very hard places.
El Paso is on the border, so there are a lot of uninformed opinions about immigration and immigrants that float around in our communities as believers. When it comes to aiding ministries working among immigrants, we too often ask, “Are they ‘legal’?” (Like we have any idea why that matters or what that means.)
These folks I was with for a week were like Miguel.
Why did they help in these hard areas?
Because they were helping people who were in their path.
Jesus tells us the same story. A man was robbed on a road and left to die. One man stopped to help when two other very religious people kept on going. Why did the man stop?
Because the wounded man was in his path.
Go and do likewise.