It's something that plagues me. So often I find myself completely engaged in the here and now that I forget the past.
But there is something about remembering…something powerful.
I realize the importance when I take time to sit down and think.
Time has a way of putting a filter on the past. Somehow it helps to soften the rough, hard edges in my mind.
You've noticed it too, haven't you?
Maybe it's with a family vacation, a year at school, the family reunion, a wedding, etc?
Yes - there are times when the bad is so bad that it predominately remains fixed in memory, but for most cases we tend to see the positive, right?
Here's why I say this. As an aspiring film maker, I spend days…months pouring my life into a production. Sometimes I work with less-than inspiring content - other times, I couldn't ask for a better story. But wonders of wonders…when I look back at a project later down the road, it tends to become more beautiful in my mind, regardless of the sweat and tears put into it.
One project in particular is the Zimbabwe PAC video I worked with while at Weimar Institute. I clearly recall sitting on the plane on the way back from Africa completely baffled at how I was to create a compelling story from the experience we had just gone through.
For months afterwards, I struggled with the storyline and how to make it appeal to viewers without sacrificing the truth.
The ultimate result was something of beauty and emotion - a far cry from the actual mission trip experience.
Or was it?
What the video doesn't show is what our accommodations were really like. It doesn't show the dirty houses, the lack of water (much less running water). The fact that we were malnourished and frequently hungry. The trial of always being late to everything (think hour or more). That one of our team members was super sick for the first few days. That four of the crew had their luggage stolen. How funds disappeared into thin air. The confusion in leadership. Shady characters…It shows none of that. And yet, those were real hurdles we faced. Flying back from Africa, those were the only things I could think of because they seemingly overwhelmed the trip.
But when I got back and looked through the eye of what my camera captured, I began seeing a different Africa than what we had encountered. An Africa with beautiful people, the blessing of how our Weimar team bonded so strongly, the power of music evangelism and medical work, the timeless faces of orphans…something lovely.
Through post-production, I began seeing the beauty in the ugly and God was able to use that new perspective to ultimately bring together the Zimbabwe video.
What a lesson learned.
But here is where I pose the question: do we have to wait until we look back before we see the beauty in the ugly?
I think not.
It takes transformation though.
A paradigm shift.
Hmmm…maybe that discussion shall be left for the next post.
Until then, check out the Zimbabwe video, if you haven't seen it and think about finding beauty in the ugly.