Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tug & Ruckle

Day 3: two of our team succumbed to the effects of heat and jet lag, and were down for the count in the evening. Four continued on, working on tables in the garden, sketching the design on large oak-tag cardboard.

Day 4: our two stragglers are back in the game, but three more on succumbing…but still standing. We cut stencils—tag team when heat, fatigue or other duties disrupted. At least one finger should have been sliced open while we worked on them, given the speed with which we were working, the poor quality of the mat knives, and the chaotic atmosphere of curious kids. Periodically a wilted artist would go stand under the mister in Arnold’s garden for revival when necessary.

Now to coordinate execution: we numbered the stencils according to the sequence in which they would be sprayed, and assigned paint colors, and painters: 1 stencil holder, 1 sprayer, 1 brush painter; test for accuracy of stencil and design…um, or not. Time’s up!

We were an hour late for set up at the square. Attila came to fetch us, and dropped us off at the wood frame we needed for the canvas, which turned out to be too small. Agh. One trip to the hardware store later, with a staple gun, and plenty of elbow grease applied—but not too much, lest we rip the canvas—and we had jury-rigged the piece together. A bit of tug and ruckle, as Jacob declared (just before he began passing out ‘boiled sweets’).

Adi the Amazing and Chuck the Master Problem Solver attached braces, wired the frame to two music stands to hold it up. Now we could get it up on stage, ready for action…um, or not. The program had begun. We would have to bring it up on stage as we began, which would cut into our 5-min. time frame.

We laid hands on the canvas, prayed for a miraculous outcome anyway, and gathered our supplies by the steps up to the stage.

I then hunted down the DanceLink leader to consult on choreography (two dancers would be joining us on stage for execution of the wall). Next I ran for Bill, showing him where we might need some improv on the music. Onto Melissa: I would be the point person for the artists, and borrowed her cell phone for a timer. Rehearsing the sequence in my head, I timed it out…it could work, if we had no glitches—ha!

In the meantime, the “severe weather warning of torrential rain and damaging winds” was building up a head of steam; the wind was already high enough to nearly knock the drummer off his stand with the side curtains. Someone tied them up. Hmmm…could pose another problem for the painters….

I gulped down dinner; we had almost three hours to go. The sky threatened, but no rain yet. In fact, the sun was beginning to peek out under those mountainous clouds in a glorious sunset…if you've been following this blog, you know the outcome! If not, read this!

Well, this should have been a rain-soaked disaster of muddled stencils, artists and dancers tripping over one another, and paint never making it to canvas. But you know what? It never happened.

The stencils should have had at least a few mistakes in them. The paint never ran out, in spite of extensive spraying in the wind. The storm blew over us. The team should have clashed more, wilted more, flared up more in anger or impatience, or had hidden agendas. It didn't happen.

You never saw Him, but God was all over that event, and the team. Not only during the event, when artists and dancers meshed beautifully in an unrehearsed choreography, and paint actually landed on canvas in spite of high winds. But also during the week, workers rebounded from heat and jet lag, stencils were cut properly, and nobody ripped the canvas.

You don't have to believe me that this was anything extraordinary. I'm just telling you what I saw.

Order out of chaos. Csodalatosh: beauty in brokenness. In spite of impossible demands, overwhelming heat and fatigue, God showed up. In the pits of the depraved evil of Auschwitz & 9/11, God showed up. Why did Schindler help the Jews? Why did Corrie ten Boom? Maximilian Kolbe? Why did “Let’s roll” enter our vocabulary?

I don’t know how, but one day, Auschwitz and 9/11 will be redeemed. Because that God's specialty: redemption. Order out of chaos. Life out of death. Jesus walking out of the grave. And in Baja that Friday night, I got another little taste of it.

That's the story I keep telling...  

1 comment:

  1. Pat - you said the frame didn't quite fit the canvas. Actually, you only got half of it. ;-) In the vertical dimension, as you said, it was a little too small, meaning we had to fold over the canvas a little, and then trim off the bottom of the stencils (thankfully, we didn't lose too much).
    The bigger problem was that the horizontal dimension, the frame was too LONG. That was a problem because we almost couldn't make the canvas reach the frame so we could attach it. That would have seriously affected our ability to keep it tight so we could hold the stencils flat to spray. Jacob and I were just barely able to stretch the canvas tight enough to get the staples into enough of the edge to hold it. That was probably my biggest "OH NO!" of the night, but God literally held it together!