behind the cardboard dreams

In the beginning was the idea.

And that idea was made flesh with recycled cardboard boxes, gaffer tape, black marker pens, yellow notebook paper, thousands of photographs, willing people and hours of time sacrificed.

I was up till the wee hours of the morning approving the final details of the video and waiting for it to get exported but it didn’t matter, we were excited. This morning, the editor was slightly late in delivering the video file and we had our mad moment running to the broadcast room at 7.30am.

‘You’re late so we won’t screen it,’ the person at the door said to us.

‘What?!’ the editor said, barely able to control his anger but the door had already slammed shut.

‘They wouldn’t even port the file over to the system!’ He growled at me, ‘And I have never wanted to throw something at someone in a long time.’

It was a dismal start. We walked quietly to our office.

‘What are we going to do?’ I whispered to Cutesy, ‘I mean, yes, we are late but come on, is this the way to treat the issue?’

I wasn’t even mad. My mind was already trying to work on a solution but I felt hopeless. After all, the video was the missile that would launch the entire campaign and without it, the work didn’t make sense. We were robbed of context.

‘I’m not going to fight,’ Cutesy replied me, her eyes downcast. ‘I’ll leave it to people on top to work it out but we need to pray.’

The team huddled under our dark cloud and closed our eyes. We could only trust in the Dream Maker to make it happen. Already tired out from weeks of overwork and yesterday’s traveling back from our trip, we felt beaten by circumstances beyond our control.

‘Alright guys! Let’s get to work and make this thing happen,’ I said to everyone. Summoning a smile for them, I continued, ‘Let’s have fun. This is going to be awesome. We’ve worked with the impossible before. This is nothing new. Now, let’s rock!’

Putting the fear aside, we set up our stations built entirely out of boxes, hung posters, distributed materials and prepared the many teams, all the while wondering if everything was going to fall through.

‘Hey,’ I said to the Dream Maker, when I finally had some time alone, ‘can you please hold my hand?’

‘I already am,’ He answered.

With Him by my side, I watched the details get pulled together and marveled at the beauty of every single person’s spirit. The what-if’s threatened to dampen my enthusiasm but I knew I had to look like everything was okay. It wasn’t easy.

A few hours later, Cutesy came up to me.

‘How are things?’ She asked.

‘It’s all ready to go,’ I answered. ‘What about the video?’

‘It’ll air,’ she answered, ‘but I’ll need to write a formal letter of apology. Because we did cut it too close this time and of course, made some people unhappy with our seeming flippancy with deadlines.’

‘You okay?’ I asked. She looked very, very tired.

Cutesy smiled.

‘I’m good. We’re all good.’

And it was.


‘We did it!’ the twins laughed, throwing off their huge boxes. ‘We shocked the people!’

They’d been hiding in their boxes where the crowds were slowly building up and when people had grown accustomed to the many boxes strategically placed all over, at a synchronized moment, they stood up and began dancing.

‘People were laughing hard!’ They giggled as more of our people came streaming back. ‘This is so much fun!’

I sat at the booth and in the spaces between the busy moments, began reflecting on 2010.

‘I remember watching the video of you walking in months ago,’ I said to Smiley, ‘when you first auditioned. Back then, I had no idea who you were, what you did or where you came from. It was almost as if you had been plucked out of non-existence onto the stage.’

‘I had no idea what I was getting myself into,’ Smiley answered.

‘And from a normal chap, you went to lead actor, then singer, then singing regularly and now, leading your own team of people… isn’t it grand, the journeys we all took in 2010?’

‘It was crazy,’ he answered.

And as I watched the people signing up today, I wondered how many of them were in for the same journey of stretching. Resonating deep within me was this knowing that we – as a team – were poised for a new era.

‘Let us be marked by fun,’ I whispered to the Dream Maker, ‘And let it all be done with such a level of rest…’

‘It will be,’ He sat back and chuckled. ‘After all, their stories have already been written by me, hasn’t it? And you know me…’

‘You like happy endings?’ I smiled.

‘Yes, I do,’ He reached out and slung His arm around my shoulder. ‘We are going to have such amazing exploits.’

I nodded to myself.

2010. It’s already been filled with the amazing.

Only the spectacular lies ahead.