“If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.”– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest.
Today’s weather has been a gift.
Four years ago, on October 2 and 3 of 2010, I was part of the production team shooting two scenes for my very first independent feature film, No Lost Cause. The weather was abysmal. Overcast skies tinted everything a pale blue-grey, and the air had moved beyond crisp and autumnal into the slicing cold of deepest winter.
The scene called for our actors to play basketball, while wearing shorts and sleeveless tops. The crew was in heavy overcoats and wrapped in layers and these two men were left with the acting job of their young lives: warm.
There were many shooting days, but these two stand out because they were the absolute worst weather we experienced, and October 3 is my Grandfather’s birthday. Which is why I notice the weather today and why I am particularly reveling in it’s balmy breeze. I’ve left the window open nearly all day, and I’ve made the time to sit on my front porch and read…soaking in the last possible heat before another rumored long and difficult winter begins.
The difference in the weather isn’t the only change that’s blown in the past four years. As I’ve talked about before, and as I’ve written about in the upcoming book, the No Lost Cause journey was a tumultuous and emotional one.
It seems as if many, many things have changed, and yet, at the same time, very little has changed. The cast of NLC were my closest friends, and while that contact has ebbed and flowed over the years, I’m pleased to say they are all still very much an active part of my life. I’ve also added a few new friends, for which I’m very grateful.
It’s not my intention to recite my resume from the past few years, so I’ll just say I’ve kept busy. I look back at how hard the journey was, but I realize that my fondest memories come from the most difficult times. That might have been the coldest day, but several inside jokes were born that day (NW, anyone?) and night (the first day was a night shoot).
A year from now, I most likely won’t remember this beautiful day with the perfect weather, but I will remember and I will say, “My…that weekend filming NLC five years ago sure was cold.”
I could say I’m still waiting for our little films to ‘make it big,’ and that would be true. Things haven’t progressed nearly as quickly or been as financially rewarding as I would have liked, but I have to stop and remind myself that I’m not operating on my time, I’m operating on God’s time, which is the right time. I get frustrated easily, which must mean I’m still being squeezed and refined.
However, even with the slow progress, the amount of people who have been moved or touched by both films so far has been both surprising and very moving.
Sometimes, I look up and have the fleeting thought that I should spend more time sleeping or going to movies, or just…not doing what I’m doing. It certainly would be easier. But then I think about all that I’ve accomplished, and how much more I want to accomplish, and how brief life is, and how each breath is a gift, and I look back down and keep pushing forward and I allow myself to be squeezed and tested and refined some more.
So for now, and for today, I sit on my front porch in the warm rays of the sun and remember how cold it was four years ago. And I smile in gratitude; both for the current warmth and the past memories.