Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stormy Waters and Hope

Family Ties & the author return to the Detroit River
(Photo by world adventurer and photographer, Charlie Scott)

Pam was attending a baby shower, and my eye balls were in need of a distant horizon, instead of the computer screen that even now is but 14-inches away. So, I went sailing.

There is not a better place to feel energized or contemplate God's nature and power than on a sailboat. So, I packed up the books and diary I use for my Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, made sure I had my iPhone Bible with me, dropped off Nineveh's Crossing's orders at the Post Office, stopped by Subway (it takes a while to get to the boat)... and an hour later was pulling out of the dock.

My life as a film producer, distributor, and writer is often filled with anxious moments... mostly centered around money to buy inventory, or pay for a number of projects we're developing. And sometimes those moments stretch into days. It's a constant challenge to keep spiritually focused on God's plans and not those that I devise without God. There's the rub, making sure the day's challenges are put there at the behest of God, and not the foolishness of Stan. Telling the difference is my biggest beef with God.

Lately, working on script, cast, and fund raising for Tiger's Hope, the decisions about how to spend time and money are often difficult to make, especially since both time and money have severe limits. There's never enough of either, it seems ... in the service of God. (my words, not God's)

Two days ago I was doing what all producer's do -- planning. Planning a film project is a little like budget forecasting in a recession. It seems useless, because what you plan never happens the way you thought it would. It generates a lot of chuckles and a few groans along the way. The question is always there: "What shall I do?"

That question was particularly haunting two days ago when my spiritual exercises took me to Jeremiah 29:11 and these words:
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.
That fits. But now I have to be sure "God's" plans are mine. Not easy.

That day the second part of my spiritual exercises took me to reflecting on the appearance of the Magi at the Nativity. I laughed out loud at the juxtaposition of Jeremiah's words ringing in my ears and putting myself in Joseph's sandals just before the Magi appear. Here's a guy that has to be wondering what "the plan" is. He's no doubt got a few of his own churning around in his head. He's got this "wife" and "baby" to care for, and he knows they are both a "little bit" special, and what's he got to offer them? Not much. The last time he tried to pawn his wood plain the broker laughed and pointed at his overstocked shelf of other pawned wood plains.

And then OUT OF THE WOODWORK (a phrase Deacon Bob uses on me when he thinks my ideas just may not be part of God's plan) come these three lost "kings" from the East with stars in their eyes, bearing gifts, looking for the King of the Jews. Uh-huh! These guys are seriously lost, Joseph thinks...wonder if they could use a wood plain?

But you know the story, and Joseph, 2,000+ plus years later in heaven is still scratching his head. There's no way he could have planned that. (plained that?) Most of us hope "one" sugar daddy will show up to help us with the latest "Project from God." But THREE?! They just drop in from left field, er.... they just pop OUT OF THE WOODWORK. (Sorry, Deacon, can't help but rub it in.)

Joseph had to have hope after that... at least until after Herod's soldiers started wiping the blood of babies off their swords.

So, I go sailing. Alone. the waters are rough, very rough. The wind is hollowing out of the West at 25-30 knots. I sail out of the Detroit River against the current, which is not something you can normally do. On Lake St. Clair there are gusts to 40, 50, and one time they hit 61 knots. What have I gotten myself into, alone, with a big boat, and just me? So, I find a moment of relative calm, turn on the iPhone Bible and access the scripture I'm suppose to be mediating on. It's Isaiah 43:1-7, which in part reads
When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown.
Okay, God, I get it, but let's get back to the dock so I can blog this.

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