COFFEE FILTERS AND TERROR ATTACKS

It’s funny how big the world seems when you are in the middle of one of the fastest growing cities, in one of the biggest states in the US: Austin, TEXAS Baby. Then again, is “my” world really as big and crazy as it feels?

The noise of life continually bombards my focus, and I become hopelessly narrow in my perception. The busyness crushes me into a little box of self-absorption, and I forget to look up. Traffic is crazy, I gotta do my taxes, can’t get behind on all the projects at the studio, shoot - I forgot to get coffee filters? There never seems to be enough time in my own little universe, and on that note: we are flying 20 hours to Malta, a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean, on Thursday, to film one of the biggest productions I have ever worked on; part of which requires us to film in the ocean, which we have never done before. What could possibly go wrong? -- my world gets bigger.

All of the anxiety can be exhausting, but I do believe there are eternally significant events, in our lives, that each one of us is destined to encounter. They are in front of us, if we can only find a way to be still. Cut through the noise. Know what we are meant for, and then pray for the courage to live it.

Even sitting here writing this, so many things are buzzing in my mind: Do I have enough underwear for the 10 days we will be out of the country? What book should I bring on the plane? What am I going to eat for lunch tomorrow? What do the power outlets look like in Malta? We are flying through Turkey, what is the Airport security going to be like in Turkey, after the recent bombings?

It’s strange how small the world can seem when one little scrap of paper, a ticket, lets me hop on a plane and soar to the other side of this blue dot, Earth.

I don’t necessarily think of the people in European countries as my “neighbors.” But in this amazing 21st century world, in a very real sense they are my neighbors (just a few hours away). They may not encounter the same exact worries or mundane surprises that I find squeeze into my American day: The Smoke alarm battery beeping to be changed at 4:15 this morning, the jury duty summons in the mail box “Surprise”, or forgetting to buy coffee filters, again. But in my experience we all share similar dreams and hopes and fears and pains. I would like to think I’m not the only one that wrestles with the “big” existential questions, alone in the darkness, when I’m trying to fall asleep.

Anyway. On this trip we have a 15.5 hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey, where in just the last few weeks bomb explosions have ripped through tourist areas killing and wounding a large number of people. There were a couple of attacks the other week in Turkey, only a few days apart, killing many of our “neighbors.” Then just this weekend, I woke up on Easter to see the tragedy in Pakistan where hundreds of women and children were targeted, hundreds of people wounded and almost a hundred killed.

(The heartbreaking death and senseless destruction in the last few weeks is shocking) but if I’m honest, I quickly slip back into the apathy of thinking, “what can I really do. Pray? Donate? Post on Facebook?” It seems like so little in the face of evil and suffering that seems so big.

I know this post is a jumbled mess, but I think that’s because I don’t have most of the answers. But, I do believe the only things worth talking about, thinking about, and cutting through the noise to grasp at understanding are some of the hardest and messiest things – like: how do I truly love my neighbor as myself, or better yet “Love my enemies” like Jesus says in Matthew 5:44.

Our newest short film, the one we are shooting in Malta next week (March 31st – April 10) is about the theme of sacrifice. The film follows the internal and external struggle of a fisherman whose normal day is interrupted when he sees a group of shipwrecked refugees drowning out past the breakers. It’s really something I’m excited to help bring to the screen because this subject matter has the potential to spark deep questions about what it means to love your neighbor as yourself, and the very nature of “salvation” itself.

In this big, crazy, messy, world, I believe everyone deserves a chance to be saved when they are helpless; we just have to look up from our own little worlds, and truly be still. Know. And learn to love our enemies.

-- Inspired by Psalm 46:10 and empathy.