It’s late. Way too late to be up blogging. They say nothing good happens after 2am and while it’s just a little after midnight here on the West Coast, my central time zone body still believes it’s 2am. It knows I shouldn’t be blogging. Think through this stuff first, it says. But I can’t sleep. So here we go.
There really isn’t any physical reason why I shouldn’t be able to sleep. I’m tired. It’s been a long week. But a realization dawned on me as my head first hit the pillow a few hours ago. Tomorrow is the final day of a long journey and I’m a little anxious.
For nearly five months, our team has been working on collecting stories for a film about the global persecuted church. We’ve traveled through countless airports. I rode on trains, rickshaws, jeeps and taxis. We drank a lot of coffee and met people I’ll never forget and that all ends when filming officially wraps tomorrow at noon.
It seems that this realization has sparked a little depression in me, and I’m not the type to get depressed. Now, don’t get freaked out completely. I’ll be fine. This isn’t make-sure-you-take-your-meds depression. It’s not that deep at all. But it very well could be a case of eat-an-entire-tub-of-ice cream-while-watching-four-hours-of-Gilmore Girls depression. Results, at this point, are inconclusive.
But I sure hope Lorelai realizes how perfect Luke is for her.
"Oh Eric," you well-wishers say, "there’s still plenty of work to be done." And yes, you are right. The road ahead is still long. Next week, I’ll lock myself in a room for three days and won’t come out until the full script is complete. Our team will edit hours and hours of footage, trying to condense it into a workable 90-minute length. Music will be composed, sound effects have to be designed and so on. I don’t have time to be depressed. There is too much to do.
But the travel, for now, is done. Maybe it’s symbolic that my passport expires in the coming months. It has become well-worn from constant carrying, in my left thigh pocket in the same cargo pants I take everywhere, since October. A lot of miles have been logged since this all started. My frequent flier status, and a large chunk of my soul, will never be the same. While we still have plenty to do before the film is ready, we’re done sitting in the presence of spiritual giants.
There was the time in India when I was asked to stand before a group of people, a couple hundred of them, who had literally been run out of their village because they were Christians. Most had lost family members. Some had seen their wives raped and children killed before their very eyes. And they asked me to stand before them and tell them something about following Jesus. I’d never felt less qualified to do anything in my life.
There was the time in Paris, as I sat on the edge of a man’s hospital bed, his leg still bandaged six weeks after a suicide bomber blew up half of the people he worshipped with on a weekly basis in Baghdad. I pray I’ll never forget the look in his eyes as he spoke of his friends who gave their life during a routine Sunday mass. That hospital bed feels so far away from this hotel bed now, yet strangely close at the same time. In some way, it seems that I have more in common with this Iraqi than I do with most Americans.
I met boys in Colombia who want to be pastors when they grow up, even if it brings about a death sentence. Their boldness continues to challenge my own call to ministry. I worshipped with refugees in the States and had my views on immigration altered in the process. Countless men and women, too many to name here or in the film, have reminded me that the call to follow Jesus isn’t complicated. But it is demanding. And all too often, when I personally consider the cost, I realize that I have too much to lose.
And that is really depressing.