Tuesday, August 23, 2011

“Think Edit, Not Epic”

“We all have a million different things we could be reading, watching, browsing, doing, poking or tweeting. Work on the assumption that your audience won’t give you much more than a minute of your time, before a video of your friend’s dog rolling over will supplant your masterpiece. So keep it short and keep it interesting. You don’t need to say everything. Just make sure the core message comes across loud and proud.” – Think Edit, Not Epic, Varoom magazine

It’s time to debrief.

Bill Drake and teams arrive around lunchtime, looking about as exhausted as we probably did the day before, when we arrived. Unloading their van, full of musical equipment and suitcases, some exchanged a hug or story, and we sat for a quick lunch. Then they headed for the showers and/or a nap. The rest of us packed, napped as well, did some laundry, or did some artwork. Then at 5 pm we met together, to hear one another’s stories, see some artwork, photos, and a video, fill out some paperwork, and pray for one another. Tomorrow, early, we would begin to disband.

This is always a bittersweet moment. So thankful to be done with the marathon, the heat, the bugs, the carb load, and the lack of privacy, we nevertheless have formed deep bonds with one another, and are reluctant to part. We crave sleep, our own beds, family and friends at home. But we’ve also gotten into a strange sort of rhythm, routine and family constellation; we feel we could keep going forever with our team (if we could just get a good nap in); but we also know better. This is not normal living, and we have to return to our normal lives. For some, that represents great hurdles, misunderstanding, and, worst of all, apathy.

To prepare our participants (and remind ourselves), we give them some guidelines. Veterans share with newbies some of the harder aspects of going home, with tips to survive re-entry shock. One of these is to “think edit, not epic—you have to tell your story in under two minutes. Thirty seconds is better.”

I have challenged the visual artists to produce one cross collage around the first story they will tell when they get off the plane. I wish you could see the results—but here are some photos:
As staff, we’re listening for ways we can improve. What went wrong? What could we have done better? And we are always on the lookout for emerging missional artists, especially those who show leadership skills. Who shows promise? Passion? Commitment? Desire? Giftings and call? Some of the participants confirm they will not be back; others ask when the next trip is. We exchange Facebook names with each other, and emails.

We will adjust the way we do things, refining this chaotic enterprise as best we can, keeping in step with the Spirit, who is not particularly tidy about the way He does business. One eye to the future, we love building into this army of artists emerging all over the world, desiring one thing: to use their art in service to the King.

The intensity of the experience creates lifelong friendships with some; but with whom? Who has entered our lives now, to continue in friendship, if only virtually? Who will we work with again? Who will we never see or hear from again?

We say goodbye to those who will be leaving in the middle of the night, or before dawn.

I miss them already.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh... I have to agree that is a hard time. This is the longest trip I've been on, and the one where most of the team was made up of people I may never run into again this side of Eternity. Facebook and email are great, but it's not the same as huddling around the tiny spot of a little flashlight trying to hold up stencils to paint a bridge, or eating watermelon together, or sitting around a table late at night with our sketchbooks, trying to make sense of a crazy day, or feeding off of each other's creative energy or laughing at the Americans trying to duplicate a real British accent, or pointing out a weird shaped shadow that looks for all the world like a goblin skull.... or together, pouring into the lives of a bunch of teenagers and seeing them grow into a little larger understanding of the Character of God, or standing in awe as you see a piece of art take form, growing in its expression of the Glory of God and the way it touches the world around us.