Last week I attended a leadership banquet at my church. The minister that facilitated the banquet showed a clip from the movie, Rudy. His charge to us was to "stay in the game" no matter how discouraged you may get. At my table, I decided to throw out the question, "What's your life-affirming movie?" I'm somewhat known for my "table topics" to keep a conversation going during meal time. To define "life-affirming movie" I said that it was a movie that when you feel you have no purpose or worth, you can watch and feel like you can conquer the world. Some might call it a George Bailey moment. This isn't your favorite romance, mystery, or action flick, but a movie that goes deeper than surface entertainment.
Normally when I throw out a table topic, I have my answer ready in case it is needed to spark the conversation. My life-affirming movie is Mr. Holland's Opus. I'll never forget the first time I saw it - I cried like a baby at the end. The tagline alone is moving, "It's not the direction you take, but the direction you give." I love that! For those of you who may have never seen it, the story is about a musician and composer who takes a job as a music teacher so in his spare time he can write music and become rich and famous. The end of the movie is so moving, that when I think about that scene I get teary-eyed. If you haven't seen it, I won't ruin it for you - go rent the movie and see it for yourself.
I think I identify with this movie because I love to spend my time mentoring others and doing ministry through my church, but in the depths of my heart, I dream of writing a novel and being published. Ahh, but where is the time? I realize that life happens while you are making other plans, and life is pretty doggone fulfilling at times. I may never get a single thing published - and I've tried - or ever get that novel on paper. But, in the meantime, I'm enjoying life and the road it is taking. And, as Mr. Holland's students said, "We are the music of your life."
What is your life-affirming movie? And, remember, not just that movie that is simply entertaining, but the movie that makes you realize why God chose you for the work you are doing.