What possessed an almost-40-something graphic designer to jump into the film industry? Two words… Holy Spirit.
No, I’m not trying to be funny. It’s the truth. Sounds crazy? It is.
It all began, with a simple chain of events (in Heavenly terms, not human). Here’s Part 1 of the story:
Back in mid December 2005, a friend, David Catalano, took Michelle and me out snowmobiling at Crater Lake after church one Sabbath afternoon. Driving through the majestic snow-covered pines and furs, we touched on various topics ranging from the state of our denomination to personal and spiritual growth. David asked if either of us had read, The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. I had read the Prayer of Jabez, another book written by Wilkinson, but not The Dream Giver. David explained the basic premise of the book (I’ll get to that later, for those who haven’t read it yet… hint, hint.) I thought it sounded interesting and felt it would be a good read, but soon was distracted by the snow and the sledding (after all, the Canadian blood does flow through this So Cal boy’s veins.)
Michelle surprised me with a copy for Christmas a few weeks later, thinking it would be a fun read on an upcoming vacation. As with so many of my books, it sat on a shelf collecting dust (and waiting for the Holy Spirit to prompt me to read it — His timing is perfect and this is something that seems to happen with me and books often.)
A whole year passed. It was Christmas time 2006 and I found myself a bit bored one quiet Sabbath afternoon. I grabbed the book and settled into my favorite chair. A couple of hours later, with tear-stained cheeks, I closed the book and sent up a prayer. For you see, the story found in the pages hit home. The Dream Giver is a simple yet beautiful allegory beckoning the reader to heed our Creator’s calling and boldly follow our dreams… the dreams He’s placed in our hearts. Wilkinson points out the various roles of those around the “dreamer”. I identified with the role of encourager. I was acting as a mentor to a young businessman, seeing a lot of myself in him, and I felt affirmed that I was fulfilling one of God’s calls as I read. It was several minutes after putting down the book that my heart skipped a beat as I mentally gasped, “What’s my dream?!”
I struggled with the thought for a few seconds before placating myself with the pat answer, “Well… a graphic designer, of course.” Besides, hadn’t I been designing logos since I was a wee lad? (Most notably, the logo for Loma Linda’s first professional hockey team, the Loma Linda Firebacks, emblazoned on an old white t-shirt with red, orange and yellow puff paint.) I spent the next few days struggling to go no further than this “easy answer”. It was days later, again with a tear-filled nudging from the Holy Spirit that I found myself willing to face what was buried deep within my soul. “Don’t think about it. You don’t know anything about it! It’s CRAZY!” I was in a battle — a classic good angel/bad angel-on-the-shoulders argument. That night, I sat with Michelle and looked her in the eyes. “I feel called to make Christian films,” I blurted out. I was shocked by the lack of shock on her face! She smiled. Supportive as always and in a affirming tone, Michelle reminded me of words I’d spoken, yet forgotten. She shared the times after watching a movie with spiritual significance, that I’d shared my interest in filmmaking and how fun it would be make films that were uplifting and would draw eyes heavenward. I was shocked. She knew (or maybe remembered) me better than myself. A flood of memories then began to flow. I had said that, I had dreamed about it! In that moment I felt as if all I had ever done, all I had ever experienced, my talents, my training, my personality, my upbringing were dots now connected, revealing an image. Though the picture was at best a line art drawing, I felt heavenly and personally assured that it would one day have detail and color…
“For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.”
~ Habakkuk 1:5, NLT