Ugh. There they were again. My five-year-old son’s clothes lay in a heap in the bathroom floor. I debated whether to pick them up or call him into the room to teach him the lesson of putting his own clothes in his own hamper. The easy path, of course, was just to pick up the clothes. That wouldn’t eliminate the need to pick them up again tomorrow, though, and the day after that and the day after that. Except, well, I’ve taught him to pick up his clothes a million times and I stood staring at evidence that my lesson went unlearned.
So, what to do? Why did my otherwise brilliant son refuse to pick up after himself? How could I trick, um, teach him to be responsible for his own belongings? Why weren’t my words being heeded? I sighed and bent to pick up the clothes. As I did, a scrap of red clothing caught my eye.
Not two feet from the small bundle of my son’s clothes lay another heap. Red tank top. Black shorts with embroidered cherries. Nick and Nora label peeking out. Uh oh. Only one member of this family wears Nick and Nora and you’re reading her words. The reason for my son’s behavior lay on the floor, daring me to ignore it. Why should he put his clothes in the hamper when Mommy didn’t even bother?
I sighed, shook my head, and gathered up his clothes and mine. As I left the room, I couldn’t help but think back on the cities I visited this past week and the people I met with. In many instances, the conversation centered around what’s wrong with publishing and/or movies and/or television and/or Christendom and/or a combination of all those, and how to “fix” it. Several told me they’d been talking about these ideas for years, but no one had listened yet.
Years? Really? I thought about that and realized that I could say the same. For six years, I talked about ways to partner creators of written product with producers of motion picture product. I sat on panels and at roundtables all over this country and batted ideas and opinions like a kitten with a string. I wondered why our ideas stayed just that – ideas. Why were the clothes still on the floor year after year?
Three weeks ago, we announced our partnership with The Sam Hill Group. The feedback has been tremendously positive. About a dozen authors and actors now call Glass Road/Sam Hill their home for representation and promotion and a couple dozen more are awaiting calls and emails after we’ve had a chance to review their existing material and decide if we can help. Publishing houses have called to ask if we’ll come up and share our ideas and authors, I suspect because they love the idea of acquiring an author who comes with promotional support. Organizations call to see if our actors can come perform, probably as a response to viewing the stellar promo videos Sam Hill creates for our clients. To be frank, it’s overwhelming. All we did was stop talking about an idea and do it.
My new business partner says often that the concept we’ve embraced isn’t complex, isn’t an idea unique to us. God has ordered our lives and careers to uniquely suit us to execute the idea, but the idea – of partnering authors of books with the motion picture industry and vice versa in a seamless manner – isn’t new. It’s been talked about. For years.
All we did, really, was pick up the clothes.
So I thought I’d ask my fellow Christians what I was forced to ask myself this morning – why are your clothes lying on the floor if you’re trying to show the world the value of picking up its own clothes? Why do you talk day after day, week after week, year after year,about a miraculous, creative, all-powerful God and what He can do and the ideas He’s granted, but do nothing?
There’s a time for discussion, of course. There’s a time that God uses to prepare us to execute the idea. When we let that time bleed into the moment when we’re to pick up the clothes, though, we rob the world of seeing by our example what can be done when we internalize the very concepts we attempt to share in His name. We steal the power of the action by talking it to death.
That’s enough words, I think. Time to go do…