Thursday, December 8, 2016

I Had One Job...

Maira Kouvara,
It’s December, time to reflect on 2016 and look ahead to 2017.

For the most part it’s been a good year and is ending well. My relationships are, as far as I know, in good places. I had the privilege of working on three short films. I’ve decluttered the house (including the boys’ rooms and bookshelves, excluding the basement) and that has done surprising things for my attitude. I’m learning to handle overwhelm in my life and heart. I’ve even learned and grown as a writer, with new systems and shifts in my thinking that will continue to grow me and keep me on task. All around I’m better than I was this time last year.

Except for that one thing.

That project that was my mandate for the year.

I’ve had one job.


And I’ve blown it.

Every year I ask God for a word or a phrase, something to hold onto for guidance and focus. My word for 2016 has been Star, as in finish the screenplay based on the Star of Bethlehem, AKA Wise Men.

I started off great. I asked thousands of people to pray (that's not an exaggeration. Hurrah for the Daily Audio Bible community). I learned and worked hard. God provided ideas and techniques. I have succeeded in getting the screenplay done to the best of my ability.

The problem is that the best of my ability isn’t good enough.

It’s not only not good enough, it’s not even good (That’s a professional opinion, and I agree).

I don’t know what to do with that.

I’ve been climbing Mount Wise Men for five years. I gathered the best tools I could. I charted my course. I learned how to climb. I have friends and mentors to spur me on. Toe hold, finger hold, up. Research, type, edit.  And I believed I was within sight of the peak. I had almost done it! Amazing!

Then I realized that I’m not at the peak.  I still have to cross a dark, treacherous chasm and climb up even higher. The changes I need to make are so extensive that I will have to go back and learn a bunch more about how to tell a story and completely rework the entire thing, from Fade In to Fade Out. It's too much to simply plug into the story I already have. 

And I'm weary. I'm done. It's been five stinking years. In fact, the thought of gold, frankincense, and myrrh makes me more than a little nauseous. If tears were rain I'd have a nice little strip of flowers up the side of the mountain and a big old garden where I am now.

I could make the excuses that I’m a writer not a storyteller, that writing for a visual medium is completely different than writing to be read, that perhaps I haven’t studied the proper books on screenwriting as well as I could. All of that is true, but none of it really matters.

The fact is I just didn’t bring it.

The thought of climbing back down and starting over again shatters my heart. The thought of handing my gear and notes over to someone else shatters it even more. What I’d really like to do is take a few pictures of the scenery here at this pseudo-peak, throw it all in a drawer and never think of it again.

Only I can’t. I’m meant to tell this story. So I need to suck it up and press on. But when faced with where I am and how far I still have to climb, I can’t breathe (and it’s not from the altitude).

God and I have talked about this a lot. He’s not disappointed. I’ve done what He asked me to do. The plan for the past year has been to finish Wise Men, then this January move back into blogging (NEW BLOG coming!), and then go forward into some new, exciting areas. I have messages that I’m thrilled to get to share. I’m so ready. But I have no idea how not finishing Wise Men fits into all of this, or if it even does.

All I DO know is where I am today. This post is a selfie from one spot on my journey. I have to remind myself I won’t be here forever. God can take even my biggest screw ups and bring good out of them. All I can do is all I can do, until I figure out what to do next, and hope and pray that my December 2017 reflections include an amazing and finished screenplay.


  1. Have you thought of putting it away for a designated time period-maybe 90 days? I'm sure there is much good in what you've written. When you look at it after a cooling off period, you may just see what God wants you to see. Don't ever give up!

    1. Thank you for your suggestion, Janice. I'm also thinking that is probably the best way to go. Some distance wouldn't hurt. I appreciate you taking the time to reply!