Journey home

Sandwiched between luggage and the suburban car window on the way to the airport, it hit me: Sundance is over and we were leaving. The snow packed hills of Northern Utah that had become so familiar over the past week flew by the window, and I suddenly realized I didn’t want to leave.

My week at Sundance was life changing. I had a hard time getting my head around the experiences. The movies, the Q&A’s and meet-and greets. What was the highlight? Where specifically had I seen God move? Definitely the Save Me Premiere and the Q&A after Black Snake Moan. And of course sharing a (donated) condo and making 9 new friends from the Pasadena cohort (including our countless discussions and rapidly growing supply of inside jokes). But there were so many more, and I’m not sure if I could point out one single highlight.

I kept starring out the car window as if I’d find a nicely packaged interpretation of the week I could carry back with me. Instead I was hit hard with how real God’ presence had been the entire week – it was a profound spiritual experience. We were all living life together in our mess, seeing other people’s mess on screen, and God revealed himself desite ourselves.

Even more, it was a safe place to actively engage with this mess and culture with in the context of a class, while we were full participants in the festival: we saw the movies, mingled with the directors and stars at their parties, shared our film aspirations with other up and coming talents (didn’t find another designer though). And we saw God stir is us, and more exciting, in others.

I don’t know how you can duplicate this – there’s not formula to get people to show up ready to talk about spirituality, let alone experience it, in film especially at a place like Sundance. But I do know what you can do to thwart it: close your mind and shut your eyes. Turn your heart off your heart off to where God might be moving. Because a project is made by non-Christians, or Christians different than you, assume God is not involved.

Newsflash: He’s there and speaking loudly.

Back in the Suburban staring out the window, the tears welled up as I thought about going back. I haven’t been around so many open hearts in such a long time, and the thought of leaving it was scary. Can I be a steward of this experience? Can I speak to this around those who didn’t go or wouldn’t understand?

I struggle with this everyday to share the hope and meaning I’ve found in Christ. I prefer to show people my sentiments rather than telling them. I’m the quiet one who doesn’t speak up a whole lot, but is probably lost in a deep well of thought. How do I share? Are you ready? Am I ready? I’m coming out of the cocoon, back into real life where many Christians are sacred of cinema (or “sin-ema”) and avoid it (or make harsh uninformed critiques about films they haven’t seen.)

I don’t know what’s next … and perhaps in that way, the journey isn’t over.


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