Who’s Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile?

February 27, 2007

From Peter Case, “Who’s Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile?”

**with thanks to Andy Whitman for loaning me the CD.

Who’s gonna go your crooked mile?
Who’s gonna haul your load?
Who’s gonna come out in the dark
& find you on that road?

Now who’s gonna hold your lily white hand
Who’s gonna drive you south?
Who’s gonna be your mornin’ dove
& kiss you on the mouth?
Who’s gonna go your crooked mile?…

& when my run was over
I fell down on my knees
I felt the touch of the Holy Ghost
When I said “Jesus please”
Who’s gonna go your crooked mile?

Now my way still runs crooked
The highways up above
& the only thing I’ve found that counts
In this world is love.

Who’s gonna go your crooked mile?…

No way, no how can merely typing the lyrics replicate this bluesy acoustic ballad. But I still believe the question is perhaps one of the most fundamental: who is gonna go your crooked mile?

Certainly, the miles of some appear more crooked than others. I listen to John McCollum talk about the orphans Asia’s Hope serves in Cambodia, and his passion makes me believe I am there. I can almost feel a child’s warm hand in mine, see her gap-toothed smile, and hear her little voice babbling a language I don’t understand. The kids in these orphanages have been on roads — both literally and figuratively — that most of us cannot imagine. They have lost parents to corruption and illness and perhaps they have been victimized in the rampant sex trade. They have hungered and thirsted and have been treated as if they are annoying pieces of lint. But John and others like him have decided to go the orphans’ crooked miles, in fact to change the whole course of their future miles. And it’s not just these orphans — it’s the country of Cambodia, a country with so many miles gone crooked in its past, that John longs for God to change.

Not coincidentally, I’m sure, I’m reading and teaching on 1 Corinthians 12, which provides descriptions of individual gifts within the church and a lengthy metaphor about the church functioning as Christ’s body. In short, we need one another — so interdependent are we to be within the church, that we cannot function properly without one another. That means that John’s wife, Kori, who stays home while he travels and cares so expertly for their three children and home, is just as necessary to straightening the crooked miles of the orphans in Cambodia as he is. That also means that God calls every one of us to come alongside our fellow followers of Jesus and go their crooked miles too. It means we keep praying for people with cancer and their families, that we accept into our lives those people we find challenging, that we keep on trying to understand and tangibly love one another.

It’s easy to think that maybe our own particular path isn’t all that screwed up. But you know? It really is. We’re all so terribly weak and broken, and at times weary and sad and fearful. Every person has their share of crooked miles. Get to know anyone at any depth whatsoever and this is hardly a revelation. But as followers of Jesus, we really are never ever alone on our roads. We really do have people who come out of the dark and help us haul our loads. We have God Himself of course, but we have something different, something very very real in the here and now in our relationships with others. And once I’ve gone a crooked mile or two for someone else — wow, we experience a whole new level of love and friendship. It’s such a circular blessing of give and take.

My own mile feels pretty damned crooked today. An accumulation of stress has hit me. I find myself with children I feel inadequate to parent, a husband with whom it’s hard to find time to have a real conversation, a church teaching that needs to be done, a mother whose cancer seems to be stealing her away, a book that wants to be written but can’t be with the available emotional and physical energy…and Cookies of course…and lots and lots of other litter along the side of my path. These things sound so ordinary as I look at them, but sometimes — at least for me — ordinary life can be pretty difficult. Getting one more load of laundry done or facing one more negative child or driving one more place — any of these can be the weight that throws me off the path I thought that I had so carefully set for myself. But man, I’m so blessed. I know so many people who have gone crooked miles with me before, who go with me now. And I think they know that I will go with them on theirs.

Who’s gonna go your crooked mile? How about we go each other’s…

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7 Responses to “Who’s Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile?”

  1. kjames said

    i’ll go yours, you go mine. 🙂

  2. Beth Koruna said

    It’s a deal, friend. 😀

  3. kate whitman said

    Count me in too. As you said, scratch the surface and we all have pretty crooked paths. It aint’ always pretty, but just knowing people want to walk with you gives you strength to press on.

  4. Beth Koruna said

    I’ll go yours too, Kate. You’re right that the knowledge of people wanting to walk with you is strengthening in and of itself. Thanks.

  5. AndyWhitman said

    Wonderful thoughts. Beth

    “It’s easy to think that maybe our own particular path isn’t all that screwed up. But you know? It really is. We’re all so terribly weak and broken, and at times weary and sad and fearful. Every person has their share of crooked miles. Get to know anyone at any depth whatsoever and this is hardly a revelation.”

    This is true, although I think for some us it *is* a revelation. I used to think a) no came from the kind of screwed up background I came from, and b) no Christian could struggle with the sings I struggled with, because everybody else had grown in the Lord while I had stagnated. It turned that I was definitely wrong on the former, and sometimes wrong on the latter. But you’re absolutely right — every person has their share of crooked miles. In fact, I think Satan is most effective when we adopt thinking that says that we are unique — which also means that we are alone.

    “But as followers of Jesus, we really are never ever alone on our roads.”

    But we are not alone, and that’s the truth. I’m happy to go your crooked mile. In fact, I’d count it an honor and a privilege. Because this is what friends, and friends who follow Jesus, do.

  6. Beth Koruna said

    John — I’m in for you guys too. And we’ll love and feed Kori and the kids up while you’re gone.

    Andy — what a sweet, sweet response. I, too, count it as an honor and a privelege to go yours as well. And thanks again for the song!

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