My father loved golf. Loved it. As far back as I can remember, my father watched, talked and played golf. Even into his 80’s and struggling with Parkinson’s, he would be eager to show you the latest adjustments to his golf swing. It was his personal passion.
When I was in high school I realized that I really wanted to be an actor. Ever since I was nine years old I wanted to make movies and after getting a taste of the theater at Northeast High, I realized this was my calling.
My father struggled with that idea. Big time. He had an accounting background. My older brothers and sisters were accountants, teachers, managers, analytical chemists, etc. And I wanted to be an actor?????
My family didn’t get it. For my Dad, it simply did not compute.
In my father’s mind, he didn’t want me to make any grave mistakes that would put my future in jeopardy by being an actor. For him, acting wasn’t a career, it was a hobby. It wasn’t a “real” job. It was frivolous at best and irresponsible at worst.
Then he went to the golf course.
He hit a couple of buckets of balls and, on the drive home, was worried about my passion for acting. “Why acting? Why not something normal?” He asked himself. “Hec, if Peter would want to play golf, I could support that!”
A moment later he stopped and asked himself “Why is being a golfer any more valid than being an actor? Why is being an accountant any more valid than being an actor? Just because I think don’t think it’s right doesn’t mean it’s not right for him.”
By the time he got home he had come to terms with my passion. And he supported me completely from that day forward. Instead of fighting me on it, he started to ask questions, to inquire, to learn. He started to watch television shows with a more critical eye and we would discuss what made it a success or failure.
Because my father had a change of heart, it opened up our relationship and took us down paths we never would have experienced otherwise. He once told me that my performance in Broadway Bound at the Hippodrome in Gainesville was one of the most touching moments of his life. He learned to love me for the gifts God had given me instead of trying to force me down a pragmatic path he had envisioned. He attended almost all of my productions and, with every visit backstage, his face beamed, his eyes filled with tears and he would embrace me with a long and heartfelt hug. There was no greater feeling, no applause, no review, no paycheck that could come close to those affirming hugs given to me by my father.
Now, with Sonlight Pictures, I think back to his drive home from the golf course and wonder. What if I had played golf? What if I followed his dream for me instead of God’s plan for me? Where would my path have lead?
When I started Sonlight Pictures, after substantial prayer and discernment, I realized that all of my experiences in my life had been in preparation for this vocation. God gave me these creative passions. Those are my unique gifts, my unique attributes as the greater body of Christ. My acting experience, my behind-the-scenes television experience, my real world project management experience, my health challenges, my faith journey… all have been in preparation for this effort, Sonlight Pictures.
I am just grateful that my father recognized the unique talents that God had given me… and they weren’t accounting and chemistry and teaching… it was acting, writing and directing. And I am even more grateful that he had the wisdom and trust in the Lord to let me follow what God had inspired in me over what he thought I should do with my life.
My father trusted in the Lord with his youngest child and that trust has allowed me to grow beyond my aspirations.
Some twenty-five years later, I look back and think, “Thank goodnes I never liked to play golf.”