We watched “Mr. Holland’s Opus” this afternoon. It’s one of my favorite movies, and although Mr. Holland doesn’t always exude the most admirable qualities throughout the story, it still brings me to tears at least twice at every viewing. The idea that someone’s life inspires others in ways they never realized gets me right in the good feels, and the final scene turns me into a sobbing mess. (No spoilers in case you want to watch it.)
I have often questioned my own purpose. I never aspired to greatness or changing the world, but, too, I wanted to believe it mattered that I existed. I don’t think that I have “made something” of myself, nor do I think I will have “mattered” in the grand scheme of things. I won’t likely be remembered, fondly or otherwise, for more than a short time after my death, by a handful of people (if that.)
But I know I have loved and been loved. I know I have been a pretty good (NOT perfect) husband, son, pet pop, neighbor, co-worker, boss, and friend. I have spoken up when I’ve seen injustice, offered comfort when I’ve seen suffering, given what I could when I’ve seen need, and offered apologies when I’ve done wrong. I’ve tried to learn from my mistakes, take advantage of opportunities, step outside of my comfort zone, and keep my mind open to new ideas and experiences. I’ve always put in an honest days work, paid my debt, shown appreciation for everything, and been grateful for what I have, not resentful for what I don’t.
I’ve suffered, but have not used it as a crutch or excuse to give up or rely on others to provide for me.
I know I am probably the villain in someone’s story, but that means I may also be the hero in someone else’s story, too. (Or maybe not.)
At the end of the day, I think I’ve done more right than wrong, good than bad, shown more generosity than selfishness, and more fairness than inequity.
I have some regrets, but more about what I’ve said and done than what I haven’t.
I don’t know if there’s any great reason why I existed, and I am likely a blip in the great expanse of life – but I believe I’ve done as best I could to not be a burden, and to treat people the way I want to be treated.
I may not have made things better in this world, but I don’t think I’ve made things worse, either, so I’ll just have to settle for a zero-sum existence.
And I’m ok with that.
12 thoughts on “Opus? Nopus!”
From what I gather, you’re a good “blip.”
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It’s funny that I’m having the same thoughts today. You’ll see why when I make my next post soon.
Boy, it’s been an age since I have heard of the movie or seen it. I do remember it being very good though.
And the “will I be remembered” thing should bother people or you. You will be remembered by all and any of the people who matter. We all leave a mark on someone or teach them something for the good. And that’s enough.
Richard Dreyfuss was a good actor in his heyday, capable at times of great subtlety.
I don’t know whether anybody matters either. I admire that you have a group of friends and (chosen) family who care about you.
That is such a beautiful bit of prose. If you leave your mark and improve someone’s life, that person will be a better person and help someone else. In that way, you will live on.
I often have the same thoughts and come to the same conclusions. I couldn’t have expressed it so clearly. Thank you for this.
Being a good friend, giving an encouraging word, these things guarantee your position in the annals of history as a worthy being. It’s kind of like your permanent record they kept threatening you with in grade school, in all the good ways.
You have played a massively critical role in bringing happiness, love, and purpose to me. And to Harvey, Rita, Clyde, Thor, Loki, Shazam, and Socks, to name only a few. We won’t be around to remember you forever, but our lives were forever changed for the better by you.
I now want to watch Mr. Holland’s Opus. I have never seen it. Someone on the radio this morning mentioned the movie Hachi (about a dog’s loyalty and it stars Richard Gere). The way the radio host talked about it made me tear up and remember my dog and her loyalty to myself and her other parent who passed away.
I hope I made a difference in this world.
It is both comforting and frightening how much we influence each other. It just isn’t obvious nor right away.
I’ve assisted people several times over my life just because. Like pushing cars stuck in snow etc.