Monday, June 19, 2006

a "Mr. Holland's Opus" of my own

the weekend was very long. by the end of the day yesterday, i was pretty much done. so when i got home, i decided to just chill and watch some tv.
as luck would have it, "home" this week is actually someone else's house because i'm house sitting for some friends. and they have cable. i don't. so... yay.
so i got home, plopped down on the couch, and started channel surfing, and i ran across the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus".
If you've never seen the movie, it's about a music teacher in a public school. The movie follows him through a 30 year teaching career.
The first scene I saw last night was about a student who had been trying to learn to play the clarinet, but was having trouble and had decided to quit. Mr. Holland has her sit and accompany him on the clarinet while he plays the piano. At one point he tells her to "play the sunset". She closes her eyes and plays the piece beautifully, finally getting past the note that was giving her trouble. It brought tears to my eyes.

It brought tears to my eyes because I live for those moments. I live for those moments with students when something great happens. A note on a clarinet. A good grade. A successful school play. A spiritual connection. There's just nothing like it.

Later in the movie, Mr. Holland has to attend a former student's funeral. It's heartbreaking, and though I've never had to attend a funeral, it reminded me of the painful good-byes.
Letting go is an inevitable part of student ministry. God entrusts these students to us, but only for a season. I have to remind myself that they're not mine to keep. I have to remind myself, when they start pulling away and building lives of their own, that that's what's supposed to happen. If God has truly used me to "train them up", they will mature, and start to build a life outside of student ministry.

Those good-bye moments and pulling away moments are enough to make me say "forget it. I can't do this". But then I watch a movie like Mr. Holland's Opus, and God reminds me of how much I'd be missing if I stopped reaching out to young people. I'd miss all those great moments, and those great connections. I'd miss the late night talks, the celebrations, the drama, the joy of being used to reach them for Christ. I'd miss just hanging out, getting ice cream and walking around. And a life without those moments would feel empty.

I want a Mr. Holland's Opus life. I want a life of inspiration. I want a life of moments. Moments of connecting with students, and of students connecting to God. I don't want to write a masterpiece. I want God to write one. And I want to be the pen. Or maybe He's the Conductor and I'm the wand. either way. pick your analogy. I just want Him to use me in the lives of young poeple.


Blogger Kristi Kurtz said...

You have written exactly what I have been feeling lately. Just ask Stacey....I was talking to her about the love you have for the students and having to let them go. It is SO TOUGH. You want to see them through everything and that is not possible. It is so hard at times...but it has great rewards. Again you said it better than I could....and I am right there with you. So glad to know someone that feels as I do about students. I am honored to walk with them in life. Love ya Stef!!

8:01 AM  
Blogger Stef said...

hey girl!
always remember that it's worth it. :)
those crazy, melodramatic, unpredictable, unruly, wonderful kids are worth it. :p
and as long as you have a good 'grown up' support system, you'll make it through the sad times.
love you!

11:36 PM  

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