Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The FORCERY Four, together again!

I don't know how else to put it, but there are some things that happened at Dad's funeral that despite the occasion were an amazing delight.  And I truly believe that Dad would have had no small measure of pride if he could somehow know that this celebration of his life brought so many wonderful people together to celebrate not only his own life, but also of the most precious things in all our lives.

During the service I spoke a few words about Dad and since the other ministers were sharing stories from his life, I did likewise and related some tales of how forgiving and relenting - even if he didn't understand what the heck I was doing - of the many stunts that I pulled during the life that we shared.  One of them was during the filming of Forcery: my first (and Lord willing still the first of many more to come) film project.  So there was Dad watching as we did things like setting fire to the living room floor of his house, having sledgehammers flying all over the place, "breaking" my best friend's legs etc.  Dad saw this one day and he started to leave.

"Are you headed out Dad?" I asked him.

"Uh-huh, way out," was his reply.  That got a good laugh from the very many who came to the service.

Well, as it turned out, Dad's funeral turned out to be the occasion of a reunion of sorts.  Because among those who came were Chad Austin, Ed Woody, and thought it was a long drive for them Melody Hallman Daniel and her mother attended... and boy was my heart jumping for joy to see each of them!  Ten years ago we were all making Forcery.  And as things would have it, we wound up all together once again.

It hadn't been planned, but I really believe that it was something God let happen: the reunion of the Forcery Four.

So here - from left to right - are Ed, myself, Chad, and Melody (with her service dog Sasha) ten years later, just after Dad's funeral:

We don't look all that different than we did when we were making that movie, do we? :-)

And here they are, the stars of our show: Chad and Melody, AKA George Lucas and Frannie Filks:

For such a low-budget project, it is absolutely amazing where our little film has gone and has accomplished since then.  Melody shared how many of her former drama students and fellow faculty members come up to her to tell her they saw her in the Forcery footage that was featured in The People vs. George Lucas.  Chad and Melody were seen on the screens at Cannes.  Forcery was mentioned in Time and The Village Voice and a lot of other publications, and made a whole bunch of bigtime filmmaking-related websites.

I won't say that I myself am proud of Forcery.  Instead, I will say that I am proud of what we accomplished together.  We didn't become only friends because of Forcery: the four of us and others became a real family.  Chad and Ed, have long been my brothers.  Melody became as beloved to me as any sister.  And all of them brought amazing consolation to me when I needed it most.

That is what makes Forcery so special in my life... and it always will be.

But it better not be another ten years before we come together again!  We've already planned to reunite again and watch Forcery once more.  No doubt next time we will have even more family to share it with :-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Taking Dad to the edge of the Jordan

Yesterday was supposed to have be one of the saddest days of my entire life. Yet here I am after Dad's funeral and I cannot help but feel like the most blessed, most overwhelmed with joy, most hopeful man in the world.

Mom and Dad's grave site,
the morning after Dad's funeral
This entire time, I believe Dad would have felt honored by every aspect of it. Anita and I had Dad dressed in his denim bib overalls, with a red plaid flannel workshirt beneath and in his right hand, just as it was often poised in life, his smoking pipe. He had often told Anita that if she had him wearing a tie he would come back to haunt her, LOL. Last night during the visitation we had a table set up displaying some of the many knives that he hand-made over the years. That was my aunt's idea, and it was a good one. A lot of people got to see some really amazing examples of his handiwork.

The service was, well... spot-on perfect. It was a time rife with tales from the life of Robert Rankin Knight. One of the officiating ministers was particularly fond of the time two and a half years ago when Dad (during his and Uncle Frank's epic/crazy cross-country drive to Arizona) was pulled over for speeding in west Texas. We still don't know what he was clocked doing, except that the speed limit was 80 MPH. Somehow Dad got off with a warning after chatting with the patrolman about his knifemaking. That was Dad awright: a peaceful demeanor and cheerful talking can go far.

As I said, the service could not have been better. Everything about it was a true testament to his memory. Something about having two Methodist ministers and a Holiness-turned-Baptist-turned-Presbyterian pastor officiating made it so right, somehow. Dad always said he wanted "Go Rest High On That Mountain" by Vince Gill played at his funeral, and Anita's two friends from her church did an amazing rendition of that song. I'm also glad that before the service, those who came got to see the memorial video that Wilkerson Funeral assembled. So many moments from such a beautifully-lived life.

But it was what came after the service, as we were on the way to the graveside ceremony, that impressed my heart with how much God blessed our lives with Dad, and how He is continuing to bless our lives, and my own especially. Even when I spoke a few words about Dad during the service, somehow I didn't see ALL of the people who were packed inside the church. That came later, when our family was in the limo and watching everyone file out of the church, and then as we met in the fellowship hall following the interment.  Words fail to convey how much my heart jumped to see Melody Hallman Daniel - AKA "Frannie Filks" from our movie Forcery - and her mother.  Denise, I am so very moved that you and Nick could come and join the celebration of Dad's life.  Ed Woody and Chad Austin: my brothers... Dad loved you as if you were his own sons.

To each of you and more who came to the funeral, who came to the visitation, who came to visit with us at the home during the past few days, who kept my family in their prayers thank you for honoring him with your presence: on behalf of my family, you haven no idea how exceedingly grateful we are for taking the time to be with us.

I will confess something: I am scared. I don't know what I'm doing, it seems like. But in the past several days God has been showing me that just as much as He blessed me with the greatest father that anyone could ever have, He has also blessed me... and is STILL blessing me... with the most wonderful friends and family that anyone could have in this world. We are told to lean not on our own understanding, to trust God with all our heart instead. We are also told that we don't have to see the entire road ahead: that His word is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path. In these past three weeks and in the last several days, God has demonstrated in too many ways to count that He IS with us. That He is with me, no matter how far I have felt from Him. He has brought me this far. Maybe He will bring me a little further still.

Yesterday, we said farewell to Dad. But this was not goodbye, not really. This was a celebration of his life. Indeed, this was a celebration of what it means to HAVE life, and life abundantly. I am always going to miss Dad. As I sit in this house that is now suddenly my own, only now is his absence beginning to impress itself upon me. But I also know that Dad would want me to keep moving forward, to always be thankful for what God has given me, to "think positive" (as he often told me), and to cherish those who God has placed into my life.

Just as Dad was all of those things and more.

To all of those who have held up my family in their thoughts and prayers during these very trying past 19 days, to those who offered words of encouragement and edification, to those who have consoled our family and helped us in so many ways for the past three days, to those who came to honor the memory of Dad last night and this afternoon, to all of those and many, many more...

Thank you.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dad's page on the funeral home site

The thought this morning was that I would post Dad's obituary on my blog after it had been published on the Wilkerson Funeral Home website.  But the staff at Wilkerson has rendered such an astounding service during this time of our need... well, that and the page they did for Dad is so spot-on perfect (and totally in keeping with his character)... that their tribute to Dad sincerely and earnestly does merit a visit to its link.

There will be a video slideshow uploaded later.  Anita and I spent most of yesterday evening and some of this morning combing through hundreds of photos of Dad, finding a select few to represent his very varied and wonderful life.  There were some that I hadn't even seen before, including a couple of he and I when I was only one year old.  Anyway, the video slideshow will be up soon.  And as I did with Mom's a few years ago I'll be posting an embedded YouTube of it here also.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dad is gone

Dear readers,

My name is Robert Christopher Knight, and I am proud to be the son of Robert Rankin Knight. And I have something to say to everyone.

No one could have been blessed with a father as amazing as Dad. From him I learned resolve, resilience, humbleness, the strength to always do what is right, the value of education, the persistence to achieve no matter where one is in life, the enjoyment of creativity, loving and cherish others especially those closest to you, and more than anything else a quiet and sincere devotion to God.

I could not have been blessed with a better father.

Robert Rankin Knight went Home this morning at 1:41 a.m.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A request for my readers

Hey.  It's just me again.  For whatever that's worth.

My personal situation is more of an ordeal than I could try to articulate in a blog post.  However it would be very accurate to state that this is without any possible doubt the most difficult period that I have ever known across the entire span of my life.  God only knows how I'm able to hold up right now...

...and that's what I mean, literally.  It's only by the grace of God that I'm writing these words tonight.  It's only by His grace that I've made it through the past two weeks and it's only going to be by His grace that I might be brought through the days and weeks and months to come.

Dear readers, there is something that I want to ask of you tonight.  Something that is absolutely impossible for me to impress upon you enough:

Life is too short.  Life is too precious.  We aren't guaranteed tomorrow.  And there should be no regrets between us.

Tonight, find the most precious people in your life and tell them, at the very least, three little words:

"I love you."

That's all it takes.  Tell them that you love them.  Let them know without any shred of misunderstanding that you care for them, that you cherish them, that you are extremely thankful that they are in your life.  Tell them that you thank God each and every day that they are there for you.

Never, ever let the sun go down on anything between you.  Don't let anger linger among you.  Anger and spite and bitterness have destroyed too many beautiful relationships, haven't they?  Don't let them destroy the ones that you are in.

Never leave something unsaid between you and someone else.  Leave no stone unturned.  No matter how painful it might be.  You don't want that to be something that one day you would wish you could go back to, only to find that it's too late.

I have written on this blog before that I have been in some dark places.  This, right now, is the darkest yet.  I have asked for prayers from a multitude of people.  I've no doubt that they have worked in petitioning God.  Worked more than my own, because I do wonder if God is hearing my own.

This is a very dark place and for once, I would ask for prayer for my own sake.  There are too many issues that desperately require prayer.  If you guys can keep me in your thoughts and prayers, I'm sure that God will hear each of you.

Don't let the day go by without telling someone that you love them.  Please.  Never do that.  Tomorrow isn't assured to any of us.  All we have are the moments now, between each other.

Make the most of them.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

-- Ephesians 4:32