Last night I watched what has quickly become one of my all-time favorite movies—Mr. Holland’s Opus. If you haven’t seen it then I highly recommend that you do!
It’s the story of a man named Glenn Holland who has big dreams of becoming a famous composer, inking his heart and soul onto sheets of music and conducting grand symphonies for the pleasure of thousands. He’s a young man with a wife and when they’re a little tight on finances he decides to try out a new “gig”: teaching. Educating some fertile young minds, summers off to write music, sounds good, right? When Mr. Holland finds himself surrounded by hordes of philistine high-schoolers who can’t keep time to save their lives, he realizes that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
Not to give too much away, something happens to Mr. Holland as the years go on: life. A son is born, they discover that he has a serious “problem”, money must be earned and spent on a house, expensive schooling, etc., etc., etc. In the end, as you’ve probably guessed, Mr. Holland does not become a famous composer. Instead, he becomes something much greater.
It is a long movie, and extremely thought-provoking. I just had to sit and think for a while afterwards, rolling some heavy concepts around in my mind. I asked questions that I think we all ask at one time or other:
“What is my passion?”
“What do I want to wake up to do every morning?”
“What do I want to have accomplished at the end of my life?”
At one point in the movie someone says, “We are your symphony, Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life.” Mr. Holland’s Opus made me wonder what my opus will be.
What about you?
Do you have a vision, a goal, a “masterpiece”, so to speak, that you want to have created by the end of your life? Of course it doesn't have to be a piece of art or literature or an invention or an athletic feat. It could be a great friendship—the chance to be a mentor—helping someone else achieve their dreams—making a lasting impression on a town, state, or country—showing mercy or furthering the cause of justice.
How many times have you asked yourself about this? Can you give me some ideas about what your “opus” could be?