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Riding the Storm Out

The premiere of my film Touchback happened on April 3rd in Dallas, Texas. Or rather almost didn’t happen.

That same day a wave of tornados ripped through the Dallas – Fort Worth area.  You may have seen this video of tractor trailers getting tossed like toy trains.

I was nearby. My family was nearby.

I was on a plane from Los Angeles into Dallas when the tornados hit. My wife was on a plane from San Diego a few minutes ahead of me, and my father was on a plane from Seattle a few minutes ahead of her.  They were the last few planes to land at DFW airport before it closed. My plane was diverted to nearby Love field because of a visible tornado funnel on the pilot’s radar near the airport.

I was texting my wife and my dad as they were huddled in the airport bathroom riding out the storm as golf ball sized hail was landing on the runway.

My family and I were lucky, we were unharmed.  Thankfully no one in the area was killed. But eleven hundred homes were damaged or destroyed. Families lost everything in the blink of an eye. With no warning, their lives were devastated.

Imagine that for a moment. Your home, your car, your furniture, your clothes, family photos, all your ‘things’ are there one moment, gone the next.

Instant perspective. Instant reality check. What if you lost everything?

We live in a society and a culture so steeped in ‘things’. We are programmed to have ‘things’ make us feel good.  But when we lose our house, our car, our clothes, all the status symbol ‘things’ that we feel define us, what is left?

Who are we when all our ‘things’ are gone?  What defines our life and gives us meaning?

What was left in Dallas?  I Googled it and here’s what I found.

Apparently Dallas is a place where when people need help, the volunteers outnumber the work to be done. So what was left was a community that cared about each other.

Perhaps this is what we are without our ‘things’. We are our community. We are the people who love us.

At the end of the day we are not what we have, but what we do when people need us.

While the entire ordeal was a harrowing experience, it was just what I needed.  When you get to the pre-release point in the process of making a film (or publishing a novel), you get lost in the anxiety of how the work will be received. Will people get it? Will they like it? Will it be successful? You get so caught up in the ‘things’, you forget WHY you started the journey in the first place.

Thank you citizens of Dallas for reminding me.

Touchback is about a man confronted with losing everything from an act of nature. It was created to make people think about their life, their relationships and their community. It was crafted with the hope that it could help people appreciate the people they love more than the ‘things’ they have. It’s about love and a search for meaning amidst devastating loss.

As a portion of the proceeds from Touchback the film are already going to some pretty special organizations, I thought it only appropriate that I donate $1 from every copy of the Touchback novel sold in April to the American Red Cross.

 

3 Comments

  1. Bobby Hand
    Apr 9, 2012

    You are even more class than I remember. I sincerely hope that only good things happen to people like you.

    With great respect,

    Coach Bobby Hand

  2. carlchapman
    Apr 10, 2012

    Thanks for sharing this with us Don. Great post

  3. deach
    Apr 12, 2012

    I watched the trailer and I love the coach’s name and his words sounded very familiar. Can’t wait to see the movie!

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