Flying to New York to create this piece was much more than a privilege, it was a blessing beyond measure. Along for the hot summer trip was myself, Patrick H. Parker, and senior Blair Treu. This short film was the first Mormon Message produced outside of Utah. We actually had to produce two stories in order to justify the cost of the trip, and Victor Guzman was first on the list. As I was on the plane I had to pinch myself as we were about to embark on the snappy four day adventure to capture not only Victor’s story, but Daisy Ogando’s as well.
As we were flying, I was taken back as I laid there with the early sun beaming through the window of the plane. I was remembering that Patrick and I, just two years prior, had ideas a to produce a feature documentary about the notion of people either turning to God, or from God in the face of extreme circumstances. Either becoming embittered and distanced from their Maker, or closer and more refined in character. We had actually started production on a story about Chris Williams, a man who lost his pregnant wife and two children to an accident caused by a teenage drunk driver. That story, along with a string of others, was going to make up a part narrative, part documentary film we called Standing In Line. Due to funding falling through, and other circumstances, the production was halted.
Yet here we were, two years later, flying to New York to tell a story we felt so strongly about. Victor’s story is so compelling, not merely because of the extreme circumstance, but because of the extreme change he allowed the circumstance to propel in his life. I remember being there and watching him visit ground zero. His face was somber, his countenance along side his family was that of a refined soul, meekly looking into the moment in history that marked him, but did not scar him.
What Victor vividly reminded me of is that God loves us so much, that he allows objects in motion and humans with agency, to choose, to act, and perform as they will, and lovingly allows the consequences to follow regardless if their choices are in accordance with His desires. While on this mortal stage, we constantly collide with consequences, both good and bad, both of our own doing and not of our own doing. Regardless of the case, God is more infinitely concerned with how we react, than padding us from a few mortal blows. In the grand scheme of things, this temporary mortal stage isn’t designed to keep us alive indefinitely, so what’s the point to continue to gasp for more mortal airtime when expiration is inevitable? This earth was created to see how we would act even when we are acted upon by the bad decisions of others.
Victor, you did well my friend! I hope within my significantly more insignificant circumstances, I can react to the daily grind of this mortal life as you have to your situation. Thanks for the wonderful time we were able to spend with you and your beautiful family. May God bless you, and all those who were affected by 9-11. This video is our tribute to you.