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.