I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a hopeless romantic and I’ll also admit that this proposal had me in tears (from start to finish). You see, with the help of family and friends, Max Zoghbi created a short film that perfectly traces this couple’s story and demonstrates that in the end, love will always triumph over tragedy. Take my advice and only press “play” with tissues in hand.
From the Groom… Our proposal was a culmination of many things that had been in the works for a long while, most of which were both out of our hands and unbeknownst to us until taking time later to reflect on it all. It wasn’t so much planning something from scratch as it was identifying meaningful things in our lives that God had already placed there and stringing them together in a thoughtfully fun way. I had been there [wanting to marry Bonnie Kate] for quite a while before her heart was ready to reciprocate that notion. Needless to say I had time to ponder ‘how’ I would ask for some time, so I had many many ideas before this one. And as I was wrestling with how to do it I was confronted with the ‘why’ behind it as my mom and brother Michael asked me ‘Why are you really doing this?” I came to grips that my previous ideas were very selfish. It was then I abandoned all of those other equally ridiculous ideas I had previously that were very ‘Max-centered’ and decided to do what would become ‘Wildflower’.
You can see this struggle in the trailer within the documentary as the main character “Mac” (me) is trying so hard to impress this girl with these fanciful notions and over the top gestures because he loves her so much. His daydreams get the best of him. Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘over the top’ nor is there something wrong with ‘simple and sweet’. Regardless of ‘how’ I was going to ask, I had to get the ‘why’ right first, which was to honor her, serve her and make her feel so loved in a way no other man could. Once that became grounded, my intentions then led my imagination rather than my imagination clouding up my intentions.
Everything really fell into place and I realized I, as a filmmaker, had to help redeem the theater for her and do something powerful that would make this amazing girl’s sweet heart burst out of her chest. As I drew nearer to God in that long season of waiting, dreaming and planning I gained a deeper understanding of His overwhelming, passionate, powerful, selfless, patient, relentless love for me. I had to, best as any broken man could, tangibly show that heavenly love in any way I could. This just seemed like the best, most obvious and actually attainable way I knew how, so I did.
It wasn’t until after the fact I was compelled or even thought to share this part of our story with the rest of the world…
Ya know I wrote, shot, edited and planned the whole proposal fiasco in about 6 weeks, then we got married 4 months later. It was a whirlwind to say the least. It all happened so fast I didn’t really have time to process how much the very thing I was creating (capturing this part of our story that is) was therapy for me, until after it was all edited together. I just knew I had to capture our proposal because being a filmmaker I wanted to have it to relish in and share with our kids down the road. But then as I was editing it and reflecting on it I realized that Wildflower is really just me wrestling with and making sense of this crazy 4 years of friendship, heartbreak, waiting, tragedy, pain, thanksgiving and endurance. It became my mirror, a visual narrative of me making sense of the hell and heaven that’s been this season of our life.
It is a diary to myself, a love letter to my bride and an invitation to the world to take a 20 minute walk into our suffering and celebration in hopes that they, that YOU, might find something that will encourage or help you make sense of your story. Pain is that wickedly strange thing that unites us all as humans, we all know it and it’s intimate familiarity can break or shape us. And as people who bear the name “Christian” Bonnie Kate and I have a unique, privileged and humble duty to show that the worst of the worst of the worst; a massacre, murder, chronic pain, daily hell CANNOT, WILL NOT, AND IS NOT ABLE to break us or lead us to despair. We may cry, we may suffer, we may doubt, we may and will and do wrestle with the endemic brokenness of this earth daily through Bonnie Kate’s pain, but we will not be overcome. Love will ultimately triumph, forgiveness will be without relent, and through all that tension, the hopeful pursuit of one man to earn the heart of a southern woman somehow took the form of a 20 minute marriage proposal documentary. I suppose it aims to serve as a broken glimpse into the heart of a loving God who lets bad things happen to His people for a season for their good and His glory. That’s what it’s really about I suppose, I’m just thankful and incredibly humbled that I’ve been given gifts to communicate it in a relevant and accessible way through film that has already impacted so many people’s lives. I hope it continues to give people hope and encouragement, I think the world needs more of that.
Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Colorist: Max Zoghbi