Yesterday I invited my oldest daughter Johanna to take part in a story. This wouldn’t be a story about astronauts, detectives, mermaids or princesses. This would be a story where she gets to play the lead. . .Johanna, my Johanna.
This is all part of our summer project. Back in May of this year, I presented an idea for a summer project to Johanna. We would produce a movie together. We would write a script, create backdrops, enlisting friends to act in our movie. I would help with the script, in addition to filming and editing our movie. Johanna was intrigued and excited by our project idea, but also a little overwhelmed by it. As a bit of background, Johanna is all of seven years old, and so making a movie is probably up there with going to the moon. It seemed like a great idea, but it’s also one of those ideas existing only on the top of really tall mountains.
Starting this project was easier said than done. May turned to June and June turned to July. This could have easily fallen on the wayside with all of my other failed projects.
We needed to jump start our plan. As I detailed in Wednesday’s blog post, I had this idea for a documentary. We would film a documentary of Johanna training for a 5k race. We would film the whole process, from buying shoes, to running at the local fields, to choosing a race to run together. The movie will also feature friends asking Johanna about the project and the race.
I wondered whether Johanna would be game for it. Would a documentary seem boring or uninteresting? While we were in California, Johanna got to see her cousins, who are budding actresses, share about their different projects. Compared to those projects, our little documentary might appear a little tame.
Yesterday, we went to one of Johanna’s favorite local restaurants, Chicken Express, where we sat down for a dinner of Macaroni and Cheese, along with mixed vegetables. I had a bacon cheeseburger and fries. Taking out my video camera, I started filming and sprung the idea of our project between bites of macaroni and cheese.
“Johanna, remember how were thinking about running a race together. How many kids in your grade have run in races?”
It was a great conversation and more importantly Johanna was excited about it, both with the idea of running the race and with the idea of filming the whole experience.
Although, a documentary might seem a little less exciting than a detective story, I like it. I’m a little ambivalent to having to run a 5k. Given my less than stellar conditioning, a 5k seems about as exciting as cleaning my basement. Still, this is something I get to do with my girl.
I somehow imagine that this is how it is with God and us. God enlists each of us to take part in a story. While we sometimes wish we could be someone interesting, like a space traveller or a spy, our God finds us perfectly interesting. No need to be pretentious, because part of what makes a documentary interesting is you get to see people being themselves, living life and making choices.
This story is less about the end result, and about having a Disney ending, than about following a process. It’s about real people and watching the ways those people change and grow. Part of the joy in acting out this story, comes because our story, is really part of God’s story. He invites us to participate in a grand adventure, where we get to be part of His much bigger story.
I’ll keep you updated in the coming weeks about our story and about our movie. So, if you see Johanna, with me following behind holding a camera, don’t give it a second thought. Feel free to talk to us.
Who knows? You might make it into our movie.