Seriously. Unless you’ve actually been on a set you have no clue how mundane and boring, as well as intense and intimidating, it can be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s actually a dream come true to be in a movie, with actual cameras, lights, make-up, and catering. I’m thrilled to have been cast in a really charming Christmas film called “The Perfect Gift” filming up in Louisville over the next few months. I’ve got the best part in the whole movie. I play the guy who’s actually trying to steal Christmas from a local church. The big scene we shot on Saturday was me going in to tell the Pastor they have to take down the Nativity Scene they put up in front of their church. Yep, I’m that guy.
Okay, so the strange part about the weekend was that in the middle of my dream-come-true experience being in a movie, there was a ton of really freaky stuff happening. Stuff that kept happening that (as I like to say) was trying to steal my joy. And I was committed to not letting that happen, cause, heck, I was in a movie!
I can’t tell you everything that happened because some of it was actually very personal and had me in tears. But I can tell you about waking up in my hotel room Saturday morning and finding out there was no water in the whole area. I was filming a movie and I couldn’t take a dang shower! How crazy is that? If you haven’t watched the news at all, you probably aren’t aware of the massive ice storm that paralyzed much of Kentucky. Louisville was hit hard. It looked like an incredibly powerful tornado went through the town, followed by Mr. Freeze (from Batman) covering everything with a thick layer of ice. Power was out all over the place, and many people didn’t even have cell phone service. It felt a bit like being in a Third World country, all the while it was 60 degrees in Nashville, just three hours south. But as a result of not having water, I got to meet Steve Scarborough and his family. Deacon Steve lived across the street from the church where we were filming, and volunteered his shower for my use. His house was turned into a refuge for his extended family members to sleep, eat, do laundry or shower. Steve’s wife was cooking a huge breakfast that morning, and I noticed a giant turkey in the oven. Their amazing gift of hospitality, revealed by the tragedy of storm, blessed me.
Hundreds of guys from power companies around the region pulled their repair trucks into my hotel parking lot (and others nearby) to help out the struggling crews in Kentucky. Even though I’m sure they had to leave the comfort of home and their families behind, I love how this horrible storm revealed the selflessness of these guys—showing how we can help each other out when others are in trouble and we have the resources.
I stopped to get gas just outside of Bowling Green. I started to wash my windshield with the squeegee thingy, and quickly noticed something smearing on the glass. I first thought it was bird poop. But it wouldn’t come off. It actually got worse the more I tried to wipe it off. The young kid emptying the garbage tried his best to help me, first using Coke to get it off, then trying a razor blade. Nothing worked. But he did figure out it was actually engine oil on my windshield. Bummer. He pointed me to a hardware store down the street in Smith’s Grove where I met a really great man (David Manning) who generously gave his time to try and help me with several different kinds of cleaning sprays. This was the typical small town hardware store, overcrowded and friendly, with free popcorn by the backdoor. I’m thankful I got to experience David’s compassion, revealed by the ickiness of the oil on my windshield.
Yes, I was in a movie this past weekend, and I have a couple more days of shooting ahead. I’m blown away by that. Still, I’m more blown away by the effortless way circumstances attempt to try and determine my mood. But if I have my sights set on joy and gratitude, then challenges I meet merely become opportunities to experience nuanced revelations of unexpected beauty.