“When he went back to the fire he knelt and smoothed her hair as she slept and he said if he were God he would have made the world just so and no different.” Cormac McCarthy, The Road.
As I sat on the futon, watching the browns and grays of The Road flash in high-definition into my living room, I was pulled once again into the creative imagination of the Cormac McCarthy. The best and worst of humanity brilliantly displayed in the novel moved in drab color across the screen. Beauty. Sorrow. Love. Hate.
Hope, when there should be none. And faith.
In almost musical tones, Viggo Mortensen, as “the man,” narrates the film with versions of McCarthy’s original lines.
In one moving seen, he strokes his wife’s hair as she sleeps in the car and says, “If I were God, I would have made the world just so and no different.”
As my eyes took in the story, my mind turned around these words.
How often have I hinted at the opposite in my heart?
Often, I’ve felt like the man in film when he says, “Each day is more gray than the one before. Each night is darker — beyond darkness. The world gets colder week by week as the world slowly dies.”
Surely, God created good, but we destroyed it. The light seems to be fading, and the shadow seems to grow.
How often have I been blinded to the lingering beauty of the good creation by fixing my eyes on what might have been?
In The Road, McCarthy shows how goodness can thrive amidst ugliness and depravity. The image of God, surviving in the love between father and son, shines into the darkness and creates beauty where there was none.
It is true that there is ugliness in the world. It is true that darkness threatens at the edge of light.
But it is also true that God has not allowed His good creation to be wholly destroyed. Our Father gave His son — who took on the frailty of creation — to offer us hope.
Through the ugliest act in history, the most beautiful love was displayed.
And so, God began to bring goodness back to His creation. He gave us strength to light up the darkness. He allows us to be His hands and feet, pouring out beauty where ugliness abounds.
The world will never be fully restored until He returns, but He has not left us without goodness.
If I were God, I would have made the world just so and no different.