Today was Valentines day.  Appropriately, and without effort, I spent the day thinking about my amazing and beautiful wife who is far too good to me, way more than I deserve.  I know there is a God who loves me because He brought her into my life.  Now, before you think I’m simply going to gush on and on here, which I could, let me tell you what the title of the post means.

I spent all day today working on building a jib.  I know I said I spent all day thinking about my wife, and both are true.  First, let me tell you what a “jib” is.  It’s a cinematic tool used for shooting film/video.  Imagine your watching a movie and the scene on your 60 inch plasma screen (or whatever you watch movies on) is of a house and street in an upper middle class American neighborhood.  It’s a high shot looking down on a house.  Suddenly, the scene magically moves smoothly from high to low following a car that has turned into the driveway and you are now looking street level at the house.  More than likely that kind of shot was accomplished using a jib.

Now I am not trying to become a Hollywood film maker…yet.  But I have committed to shooting a movie here at the academy this spring break with the drama team.  A big reason I’m doing this is my wife, specifically her faith in God and me.  It’s very likely that, without Miranda in my life, I would not be doing this.  But she’s excited about it and that makes me excited about it.  I have many discouraging thoughts of doubt and feelings of being in over my head, but I have committed to doing this and a big part of that is tied to, well, honestly to impress my wife.  I want to live up to the faith she seems to have in my film making abilities.

So, today I embarked on something of an odd Valentines day present.  I was going to build my own, Do-It-Yourself, homemade jib.  I researched and researched till I found what I thought was a good plan I could follow.  I went to Home Depot, explained my project to a somewhat bewildered but intrigued worker, and together we secured all the parts I would need.  He made me promise to bring back pictures when I was done. I think he didn’t believe I would actually be able to construct anything recognizable let alone useful.

This morning I laid out all the pieces and began.  On a side note, we have a teen age boy from China staying with us this break.  We are his “sponsor family” meaning we take care of him while he is at school here.  He doesn’t speak great English.  Smiling and nodding is a major portion of his communication.  When I got started on the project he apparently interpreted either a smile or a nod as an invitation to help, though he had no idea what I was building.  So here I am building a home-made Hollywood cinematic piece of equipment with instructions I got off the internet and a Chinese boy who smiles and nods in response to every question as an assistant.  I won’t bore you with all the details of everything that went wrong today, but the list is long indeed.  Needless to say I did not finish my labor of love.  I have left it in a pile on the coffee table as a monument to my failure.  My Chinese assistant looked at the pile of aluminum tubing, angle iron, nuts and bolts on the table, then looked at me, nodded and left…no smile.

I don’t know if I can express clearly my thoughts and feelings here.  Yes, I was making a piece of equipment that I would be using for making my film, yet I felt that I was doing it for Miranda.  No, not the same things as when guys go out and buy power tools for their wives on Valentines, I really was thinking of her the entire time I was working and how pleased and proud of me she would be when it was done.  I wanted to do this as a gift in response to her inspiration and faith in me, although, at the end of the day, what I had was more of a modern art expression of Armageddon.

Well, I was pretty devastated.  My valentine gift was a pile of metal garbage.  It made me feel like human garbage and unworthy of her faith in my abilities.  Somewhere in that mire of despair a still small voice pricked my ears and said, “This is kind of like you and I, isn’t it?”  I’ve come to recognize those kinds of thoughts as God trying to tell me something.  I looked at my aluminum Picasso pile and thought, that’s my righteousness, good work, whatever you want to call it, that’s my life when I try to do things on my own.  This is the result when I try to impress God with my abilities.  And you know what’s weird?  I could feel God there with me looking at my mess with a smile and saying, “Well, what do you say we try again tomorrow, and this time let me help”…and He wasn’t talking about my jib project.

Isn’t that the most awesome God?  Whatever mess we might make of our lives, however bad we might do in a day, God doesn’t condemn us but always extends us the offer, “Let’s try again tomorrow, and this time let Me help.”  I have a feeling Miranda might do the same for me and my ‘Jib of love.”

“For God did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it…” John 3:17