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Worth the Drive: When Doing the "Right Thing" Doesn't Come Naturally

Originally published Monday, 03 June 2013.

A church alive is worth the drive.

Mom was famous for uttering that sentence when we three kids would complain about early-morning 30 minute commute to our Presbyterian church in Richmond, Virginia.

The drive always seemed a little too far. We had to get up a little too early. We had to put forth a little too much effort. We certainly never all were in the family van at the projected departure time loosely enforced by my Dad. A lot of the time my sister and I would still be putting on our makeup or the finishing touches on our hair during the commute. 

Lord help us, sometimes even putting on pantyhose was reserved for the car trip to church. 

But Mom---with all of the bravery and patience it took to get the three groggy Wilson kids out of the door each day---hair clasped up in red hot curlers and brushing her teeth would tell us over and over again...

A church alive is worth the drive.

It was always the right thing to do. We could forego church, we could dismiss our church family who loved and supported us for a few extra minutes of sleep, or less time spent in the car. 

But, when we'd get to our home away from home, our familiar church with the familiar faces, it would always be worth the drive.

That line resonated with me this morning as I prepared to drive to my new Presbyterian church in Norfolk, Virginia. Coincidentally, a church that's 30 minutes away from my apartment in Virginia Beach. 

Totally figures, I thought to myself. Coincidentally, at twenty-four years old, I was still late for church and coming to terms with the fact that my Mom was right. I stood in the bathroom curling my hair and brushing my teeth, running the risk of being late again and picking up more habits and philosophies from Mom than I even realize. 

A church alive is worth the drive, right? 

I've been going to this church for a few months now, and I only just stopped using the GPS on my iPhone as a crutch for directions a few weeks ago. I was always semi-confident of the way. But, I always plugged in the address just to make sure.

I'd second-guess myself to the point so much that once my church friends discovered how bad I was with directions, one of them took it upon himself to draw me a map of the downtown Ghent area---a seedy, but lovely area with small, local businesses and fair trade coffee shops--a place that feels organic and humble in the fray of Norfolk. 

He did this for me after it took me twenty minutes to find a brunch spot that we tithe to with our french toast and mimosa purchases and our twenty-percent tips after Sunday school. 

Which was totally sweet, but embarrassing when you take into consideration the fact that the restaurant is literally two blocks up the street from the church.

But today the ride there, the 30 minute commute, felt smooth and short. Like I was hypnotized and on the way home. No GPS-crutch. No scribbly, linear map from my friend with his small, decisive upper-cased print. 

Just me in the car with my sense of direction. My sense of home. My sense of the church alive being worth the drive. 

I feel like maybe this could be what our lives look like when we practice doing things that are worth the drive. Maybe it's a struggle to get to them on time. Maybe it's a hassle to dedicate the time to volunteer, or love others like Christ loves us. Maybe it doesn't come naturally, and we get lost and need our directional crutches, and our friends to map out how to get to a place that's merely two blocks away. 

But it's always worth the drive.

What's worth the drive for y'all lately?
What's worth putting in extra time and making sacrifices for?
Is there anything that's hard for you to dedicate extra time for, but are always glad you did? What is it? Tell me in the comments below!