The whole point of a spiritual journey is to discover truth. Yours, the universe’s — and, if you’re a theist — God’s. That journey is “our story”. And, if we find what we’re looking for, it’s natural to want to share that fact. To, tell our story. Along the way, our stories zig and zag. There are highs and lows. Stories we can’t wait to tell other people and stories, well… it was kind of embarrassing, so, we’ll skip it, if you don’t mind. Then there are stories about how the whole direction of our lives changed.
Those are the stories we’re thinking about today. They describe moments (small or extended) that were certifiably life-changing. They might not have changed our lives in that instant; sometimes, it can take years for a moment’s true meaning to ripple across time just so it can bite you in the butt. A moment in your life that you thought taught you one thing turns out to have been about the exact opposite. Seen with perspective — as the ripple finally comes around, you realize how much the game changed without you even realizing it. Hopefully, there’s still time to catch up.
Or, if you’d prefer to watch…
NOTES & SOURCES
This is a great addition to our “three-series” as a key way to build relationships with people who are not “like us”-however we define that. Stories shape who we are and sharing stories helps us to understand where we are coming from and why.
1-My family’s move London
Built on seeds planted in the previous move to Australia in Junior high.
The world is so much older (and bigger).
This one is really relevant to me (and to all of us):
Very big change (in last part of 9th grade)
Tough start: Took 3 months to find my friend group (tough time)
Tough ending: with my parents divorce and then loss of friend in college.
But I cannot imagine myself without this experience.
Academics: found my motivation! Trudell
We are all in just such a time today. Will be very difficult. But is a huge opportunity for us if we intentionally move into this very different future.
It was a result of everything that happened in London that in college I
made an intentional decision to rebuild my life around my spiritual journey (commitment to Christ) which continues to be the primary source of my identity, meaning and belonging. As I said last week, you have to be broken to go deep in Christianity. This was my time of brokenness.
2-My decision to go to Latin America
City of Joy: inspired by priest character (taken out of the movie with
Patrick Swayze) to get as close to the poor on this planet and understand,
as best as I could, life from the majority perspective.
Seed planted in South Africa when with Kruger family member and came across a leper. How can such disparate experiences happen on same planet? A chance to build on this experience.
Learned so much about my home country and way of life, and about the way of life of so many others on the planet.
Divested of the hubris of thinking I could “save” others with my ideas, my solutions, giving them my way of life. Learned importance of facilitation.
Met my wife!
Decided to become a pastor
Again, I can’t imagine my life without this experience.
3-Decision to start a fully virtual ministry.
Just beginning but I can already tell that all of my previous experiences
led me to this point.
Am excited about what is ahead (more podcasts, website re-launch, first digital course “How to read the Bible to create good in your life.”)
My three stories in a nutshell —
1 “Ghosts” – How I “saw the light” in the middle of a lecture on Ibsen’s Ghosts and suddenly understood what it meant to be a storyteller.
I went to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. That was a game changer all by itself — going to Vassar. I was a drama major. Though I’ve always been a writer, I never thought of being one at that point. I wanted to be an actor. I’m no one’s idea of a leading man. I was always cast in comedy support and character parts. But no young actor wants to think of themself that way; I foolishly didn’t.
I went to one audition — one — and decided I’d rather be a writer. Good thing I had this lecture in my pocket to guide me.
2 “My Morning Drive Thru Topanga Canyon” or “How I Sold Out My East Coast Soul And Learned To ‘Love LA’ “.
I grew up in the east. Born upstate NY (my dad was in the air force, stationed at Griffiths Air Force Base in Rome, NY), raised outside of Baltimore (where my dad began his surgical practice), schooled back in New York, as I said, at Vassar. I expected to spend my entire life on the East Coast, most likely in NYC, banging my head against the wall, trying to cut it in the theater. A high school friend had gone out to LA and become an agent at William Morris. “You should try writing a screenplay,” she said.
So, I did. And I sent it to her. She read it and liked it. A lot. She sent it out to people — who also liked it. A lot. They wanted to meet me and hear what else I had in mind. “Want to come out for a few days,” my (soon to be) agent asked, “And meet ‘n greet?”
“Why, sure!” I said, thinking “What the hell!” It’s not like I was burning up the theater world. There was zero chance I was going to go there and stay. Hell, the best that could happen is I get someone interested in buying something I was selling. I’d take my money and go home, happy to write for Hollywood but while I was living in New York.
What’s that joke — “How do you make God laugh?” Tell him your plans. Yeah, well — if I believed in a God, he, she or it saw me coming and started laughing their ass off at me.
3 The Making Of Bordello Of Blood
Hollywood was good to me — compared to how it is to most people who move there from wherever they’re from. I chowed down on real success. I got even got a taste of it early. Within six months of moving to LA, I had my first screenplay development deal in hand. It wasn’t huge money but a dollar compared to zero dollars is a significant difference. Alas, getting paid by Hollywood was, it turned out, the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Well, to my “soul”, as it were.
Part of my all you can eat buffet of success — while I was allowed in the restaurant — included a few dishes I wish I’d never eaten. “Bordello Of Blood” was my own personal Waterloo. Every day making that movie — from the very first day to the very last — was stupider than the day before it. It was an object lesson in everything that’s wrong with Hollywood. The movie’s not horrible. It’s not very good either. It just “is”.
But, no one wanted to make Bordello. Not the filmmakers. Not even the guys who originally wrote the script. None of the actors really “wanted” to do it — except the actors we hired in Vancouver where we made “Bordello”; by the time we were done making “Bordello” , even Vancouver didn’t want us.
“Bordello” is about a whorehouse operating beneath a small-town mortuary but all the hookers are vampires. It’s a horror movie. It is what it is. But the story of “Bordello’s” making, that’s a horror story all by itself. That’s the real horror story as far as I’m concerned. Some horror movies are a game of “Who’s the monster?” I thought I knew, while making the movie (I co-wrote and produced it) “who the monster was”. I thought it was one of my producers — a man notorious for monstrous behavior.
I was wrong. The monster was someone else entirely.
So, yeah — Three Stories that Define us in some way or changed the course of our lives. Let ‘er rip!