Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

“People are People” has been playing in my head the last few days and sort of sums up my experiences out on the road working this week. I’m in sales by the way, in case you haven’t deducted that from following this blog any length of time. I’ve found that in sales, in particular, your attitude has a tremendous influence on the outcome. I think that’s true with many things in life. It’s not simply that having a better mindset improves your own outlook and makes you more effective, but I’ve also found that it has a tremendous impact on those you encounter.

Despite having several days in a row of bad news and being generally disgusted with my job and the current economic plight we find ourselves in, I woke up feeling pretty good yesterday morning. (Thanks to the extra-long good morning hug from a four year old.) I had a few stops in South Louisiana which were really pleasant conversations. Yesterday evening when I got to the hotel on the North Shore where I was staying, there was a guy talking to the front desk clerk who seemed rather frustrated. As I waited in line, I heard that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to check in now or go into New Orleans and come back later that night. The clerk was growing impatient and didn’t want to answer his questions.  I talk to strangers all day long everywhere I go and interjected myself into the conversation. I learned that he was a farmer from Illinois and his landlord recommended he stay on the North Shore while he was in the area rather than New Orleans.

He asked me very nervously, “what’s it like?”

I said, “Well, today is Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras ended last night and most of the tourists are clearing out today. I just came from New Orleans this afternoon and the traffic was fine. You won’t have a problem getting a hotel there if that’s what you’re worried about. I’m staying in New Orleans tomorrow night and had no problem making a reservation, so you should be fine.”

He still looked frustrated and told me his landlord recommended he stay here but he and his wife were thinking about going into New Orleans but wasn’t sure if they should.

“Oh, are you worried about whether it’s safe?”

He said, “Yeah, I mean I don’t know where to go, and I’m not sure if it’s a good idea.”

“I work down here two to three months a year since Katrina. It’s fine. The French Quarter is a tourist trap and one of the safer areas you can visit. I took my wife and kids to New Orleans last summer. They had so much fun my kids are begging to go back. I think you’ll be fine.”

So he left the hotel and headed to his car where his wife look exasperated from waiting in the car, waiting on her husband to make up his mind, or both.

This morning I was up early and loading my stuff before heading off to a meeting. As always in south Louisiana, there are a lot of laborers leaving for a job in the morning loading their gear into trucks next to mine. I went back to the room to steal a phone book and left the door open. An older weathered hispanic worker stopped by the room and asked, “Hey, are you staying another night?”

Thinking he was one of the guys doing the remodeling on the hotel I said, “No, I’ll be out of here in just a minute.”

“Do you have any coffee left?” he asked.

“Well, I drank both regular packs, but I got some decaf left. You want it.”

“Oh yeah, if you don’t mind, I’d love to have some more,” he said gratefully with a smile as I handed him the coffee.

As I followed him out to the parking lot he said, “We’re headin’ up to Seattle, and this will come in handy,” he explained as he stuffed the decaf coffee into a black garbage bag in the back of a small pickup and climbed in the cab with three other guys.

I could tell those same stories about the waiter today, the cashier at the drive thru, the hotel clerk tonight, and on and on. I finished the day eating chargrilled oysters with my supervisor. We talked for an hour and a half about just how screwed up things have gotten with our company and how fed up I was with all of it. We talked about how each of us and the powers that be see things differently but also about how we can work to make the necessary changes to improve things for everyone. I appreciate that he listened and that we found common ground to move forward on, even though many things have yet to be resolved. If you look people in the eye, listen to them, and talk to them like they matter, their entire disposition changes, including mine. We can even disagree with one another without destroying one another. Whenever we encounter people in different places or people who are different from us, too often we do so with the baggage of suspicions and sterotypes.

So we’re different colours
And we’re different creeds
And different people
Have different needs
Its obvious you hate me
Though I’ve done nothing wrong
I’ve never even met you
So what could I have done
I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand
People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

Since January I’ve worked in some pretty rough neighborhoods in a few cities. I’m a fish out of water in a big urban town with all the traffic and the one way, no u-turn, four lane roads, but I’m naive enough to be the only white guy in a McDonalds and make small talk with the cashier. I’m brass enough to ask a stranger if he needs help with directions. I’m also considerate enough to realize that a migratory hispanic laborer enjoys a good cup of coffee just as much as I do, whether he’s legal or not. I also realize that a young gay black guy working a drive-thru window is working just as hard as I am to make it in this world.

Coincidentally enough, I just watched Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine film on tv this past weekend. I’ve heard all the trash talk about him and his movies, but I was curious. I actually enjoyed the movie. It’s just clips of Michael talking to people. Yeah, just talking and asking simple questions. No brain washing. No arm twisting. He actually asked a lot of the same questions that I would have. He stood on a street corner in South Central Los Angeles with an expert talking about actual crime statistics versus our misconceptions. Which I thought about when I met the farmer worried about going to New Orleans for a night on the town. What I realized most from watching it was just how much people are being manipulated by fear in this country. Fear of terrorism, of aids, of crime, of young black men, someone taking your money, of being sick, and on and on. Worst of all is that we’ve been conditioned to be afraid of each other. That same fear drove the last election cycle and cost John McCain the presidency. (That point was driven home again by an HBO documentary that I stayed up too late to finish last night called Right America: Feeling Wronged | Some Voices from the Campaign Trail, which I highly recommend you watch if you can.)

Worst yet, that same fear could cost us our very way of life and all that is decent and right in this country… each other. I hope that if any good can come out of this economic depression we are facing, it will make us realize, like after September 11, 2001, that we are all in this together. We rise or fall together.

I say all that to say this. People are people wherever you go. I refuse to be afraid. I refuse to be manipulated. I choose to hope. I choose to listen. Will you?

For all the laughs that Adam Sandler has delievered over the years his role in Spanglish set him apart as a serious actor. His performance in Reign on Me far surpasses even that achievement. I’ve always loved Don Cheadle. He’s just such a classy, likeable guy. Liv Tyler is so demure and ethereal. The cast as a whole works so well in this film, but the writing and directing are masterfully orchestrated. Mike Binder really amazed me. Who knew he could be capable of such art? He even has a small role in the movie.

The film is heavy without a doubt. How can you make a movie about a 911 widower struggling with grief light hearted? Nonetheless there is tremendous balance with just enough laughs and brevity to rivet your attention and keep your heart from breaking completely until just the right moment.

I haven’t cried watching a movie since Where the Red Fern Grows when I was 9. I cried during this movie! Did you hear me? I cried for God’s sake. I couldn’t help it. What was odd was that I finally broke near the end of the movie during a happy scene of all things. The film takes you into the depths of pain and heartache like few have done before, but it’s not a sad movie. It’s really not. It’s heart warming and endearing. It will make you cherish your life and all those in it that you love. It is a must see, and a must win for an Academy Award.

I was first in line at Blockbuster Tuesday morning to get Tranformers, and I was not disappointed. Wow! I thought the FX were impressive, the story was pretty good, and Megan Fox was amazing. As a Gen X kid, or whatever they call kids that grew up in the 80’s these days, I was a huge Transformers fan of both the cartoons and the toys. I like the way the storyline introduced the whole franchise to a generation that weren’t familiar. There was just enough humor in it to tone down the intensity and remind you what it was to grow up with the franchise. I think Michael Bay did an outstanding job directing. It has got to be one of the best cartoon to movie transitions I’ve ever seen. Five stars all the way!

Rise of the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was ok. The special effects were good. You gotta love anything with Jessica Alba in it, but there was no real wow factor to the movie. I didn’t really enjoy the first one much either. It’s great for kids I guess. Although I’d rank it higher than a lot of B-rated comic movies of recent years, it falls short of Spiderman by a skyscraper.

Even MoneyShari Rhodes deserves an academy award for casting Even Money. How she got these people to sign up for this one, I’ll never know. Consider the A-list here: Kim Basinger, Nick Cannon, Danny DeVito, Kelsey Grammer, Ray Liotta, Jay Mohr, Tim Roth, & Forest Whitaker. The beginning was good, as in the first 15 minutes. I liked the layered intro of the characters, but after that it went down hill quickly. It was terribly written and ridiculously predictable. It starts getting worse, but you keep hoping that something’s going to turn it around soon. It doesn’t happen. About half way through Basinger has an argument with her husband Liotta when this corny background music starts playing. Right then my wife looks up and says, “This sounds like a Lifetime movie.” I could not have described it any better. It would be a perfect Lifetime Original were it not for the all-star cast. Oh, Kelsey Grammar was good though, if only they didn’t bury his face in prosthetics and makeup, as to disguise the fact that it’s Kelsey Grammar.Don’t waste your money or your time on this one. You’ll have better luck with the nickel slots!

I’m in love with words and dusty books,
the taste of deep red wine and salty ocean air,
drunk on a lonely tune and a sunset sky.

You might say that I am a romantic, in the classical sense. I go weak in the knees for ideas. I love nuance, symbolism, and possibilities. This makes me especially vulnerable to the seductive language of scripture.

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “in love with the idea of being in love.” Dorothy Boyd’s description of her feelings for Jerry McGuire describe my affair with Christianity well, “I love him! I love him for the man he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is.” One of my favorite bloggers Real Live Preacher expressed this idea succinctly in a recent post:

Christianity has already shrunk in my lifetime from being the shining center of all truth and purpose to something less than that. Even looking at things from the inside, even willing to give the benefit of every doubt, Christianity seems like a bumbling, prosaic movement which is, as often as not, violent, anti-intellectual, and xenophobic.

But I love Christianity so much. Or at least I love what it could be. I want to hug it. I want to throw my arms around the beautiful language of salvation and redemption. I want to curl up in the warmth of my faith community, the people I love so deeply in this world. Truly they are like family to me. I feel I could get drunk on our ancient symbols, myths and stories, the ones that speak in luscious tones vibrating through a million voices across the centuries.

With time and disappointment love can change and devotion can wane, but for all that I have learned and all that I question about my faith I just cannot bring myself to walk away completely. In The Painted Veil Mother Superior said:

“I fell in love when I was 17… with God. A foolish girl with romantic notions about the life of a religious, but my love was passionate. Over the years my feelings have changed. He’s disappointed me. Ignored me. We’ve settled into a life of peaceful indifference. The old husband and wife who sit side by side on the sofa, but rarely speak. He knows I’ll never leave Him. This is my duty. But when love and duty are one, then grace is within you.”

I don’t stay from a sense of obligation or from fear of divine retribution. I think I stay because it’s familiar. These words I’ve heard so many times bring comfort when few others have. For all that I know there is more that I don’t know. I no longer look at the Bible as a rubik’s cube waiting to be solved. It has become more like a painting to me. One that requires long gazes from an open mind to appreciate. Every time I return I see something new in something old. Faith is not having all the right answers to spiritual questions. Faith is loving the idea of what could be, and the test of faith is in making small choices that bring those possibilities to life.

Without a doubt one of the movies with the most spiritual impact that I’ve seen in a while has to be Levity, starring Morgan Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, and Kirsten Dunst. I warn you, it’s gritty. The characters aren’t just flawed, they’re seriously messed up. Three lives intersect, each needing their own measure of grace in hopes of finding redemption. I’ll leave you with a few quotes in hopes that you will see it for yourself:

Miles Evans (Morgan Freeman): You think God talks to me? We argue maybe, but He don’t participate. It’s all right. I’ll see Him one day. When I do, I’m gonna whip His holy ass.


Miles Evans: You know, you could get lucky. God might decide to grade you on the curve.
Manuel Jordan (Billy Bob Thornton): It wouldn’t matter either way.
Miles Evans: You don’t know what the hell you talking about, do you? Why be afraid of a God that you don’t believe in? Oh, I know, it seems like people are making up shit so they can feel good about all the pain, all the cruelty, loss, violence, suffering, death. Famine, bigotry, small-mindedness, repression, depression, oppression. Want me to keep talking? ‘Cause I can go on forever with this shit.
Manuel Jordan: No, I get the point.
Miles Evans: The point is: I believe in the lie. Never underestimate its power. Now, as for me, well, I’m lying through my teeth. I’ll see you soon.

Tuesday night on The Tonight Show Jay Leno said the Bush administration is turning out to be a bad version of the Wizard of Oz. “Cheney needs a heart, Gonzalez needs courage, and Bush needs a brain.”

The Painted Veil with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton is a powerful story of love unreturned, love betrayed, love rejected, love scorned, love demonstrated, love made, and love lost. Kitty (Naomi Watts) opts to marry Dr. Walter Fane (Edward Norton), even though she doesn’t love him, just to get as far away from her mother as she can. The new bride far from home in China has an affair with an Englishman. When their secret is discovered, her husband gives the ultimatum to join him in the heart of a cholera epidemic deep in China or immediate divorce for adultery. Rejected by her lover she finds herself cut off from the rest of the world in the midst of enormous human suffering where their relationship is tested to the breaking point.

I find the parallels between romantic love and religous devotion unending. Consider the following exchange between the head of the convent and Mrs. Fane (Naomi Watts):

Mother Superior: Dr. Fane told me he wanted you to leave but you would not.
Mrs. Fane: I didn’t want to leave you.
Mother Superior: Yes, and we appreciate it, dear child, but I think you did not want to leave him either.
Mrs. Fane: Well, it’s my duty.
Mother Superior: Duty is only washing your hands when they are dirty.

Mother Superior: I fell in love when I was 17… with God. A foolish girl with romantic notions about the life of a religious, but my love was passionate. Over the years my feelings have changed. He’s disappointed me. Ignored me. We’ve settled into a life of peaceful indifference. The old husband and wife who sit side by side on the sofa, but rarely speak. He knows I’ll never leave Him. This is my duty. But when love and duty are one, then grace is within you.

Many people stay married for no better reason than they have for going to church, a sense of duty or obligation. Obligatory church attendance holds about as much passion as an arranged marriage. I have also lost respect for people who stay married till “death do us part.” I respect most those who stay in love, who work at love, who make love. I know many people who just live under the same roof, though they merit some recognition for not killing each other, but their love is unspoken, unexpressed, and maybe absent altogether. Those are not the kinds of relationships we should aspire to nor settle for.

The Bible is not a rule book, nor a list of doctrines. It is above all else a love story between the Creator and the created. While God’s love may be the one constant in the universe, we are reminded throughout that our love is frail. We must “catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,” for “the love of many will grow cold.” We must be passionate in our love making and our praying.

We make an effort to grow in love every day not because we have to, but because we want to. This is not a place we have to be. It is the place that we want to be and this is the one we want to be with. Then love and duty are one, and there we find grace.

I’m a bit overwhelmed by the number of movies I haven’t seen on the list, so I’m starting with the goal of seeing the top 10 and working my way down the list. Surely I can do it. A few may take some extra effort, but I’m going to get it done.

AFI’s Top 10 of Top 100 Movies, 100 Years:
1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. Casablanca (1942)
3. The Godfather (1972)
4. Gone With the Wind (1939)
5. Lawerence Of Arabia (1962)
6. The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
7. The Graduate (1967)
8. On the Waterfront (1954)
9. Schindler’s List (1993)
10. Singin’ In the Rain (1952)

I have a very difficult and personal confession to make. As a self-proclaimed movie junkie, I must admit that I have never seen The Godfather till today. In the interest of full disclosure I did see the last 30 minutes on cable last year. Although I think I’ve seen just about every other mob movie known to man, I just could not live in the dark any longer. I had to see the Don.

The movie did not disappoint. It’s like watching stars being born before your very eyes. Without question it set the gold standard for mob flicks. I’ve been a Sopranos fan for a while now, but while I’m confessing my toenails, I must say I’ve never seen the first three seasons. I’ve been waiting to get the box set and watch them in a marathon.

Ok. I feel like I’ve arrived now. I’m a grown up, like I’m part of a circle of insiders, those in the know, but, somehow, I don’t think the Don would approve of blogging.

Never let anyone outside the family know what you’re thinking. ~ Don Corleone

Without a doubt, one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while is Man In the Moon (1991) with Reese Witherspoon, Jason Landon, and Sam Waterston. I didn’t know the movie existed and only watched it because my wife picked it out. I learned that it was filmed not far from here in Natchitoches, LA. It appears to be the first major motion picture for Reese Witherspoon who, I also just learned, was born in New Orleans. This was not the typical cheesy southern movie. It is a heartwarming and heartbreaking drama delivered by a stellar cast. Witherspoon was destined for a great career after this debut. She had to be about 15 years old at the time of filming, which made her nude scene shocking, although very innocent. The feel, quality, and setting of the movie is similar to The Notebook, although it is a coming-of-age film. I highly encourage you to see this great movie from Louisiana.

I’ve seen quite a few movies the last few days between the Blockbuster movie program and HBO. I thought I should share a few thoughts on them:

Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music documentary by Robert Elfstrom
I love all things Johnny Cash. I’ve read several biographies, including one by Rolling Stone magazine which was an amazing photo journey. This documentary was not an all encompassing birth to death, rags to riches epic. It was filmed by British filmmaker Robert Elfstrom in the late 1960’s as he traveled with Johnny and June. Johnny was so impressed with Elfstrom’s work that he later asked him to produce his film about Jesus Christ, The Gospel Road. This movie is archival footage from live concerts, recording sessions, Johnny’s return visit to his hometown, and rare personal moments and reflections. Fantastic!

Conversations With God with Henry Czerny
I had this movie in my queue but moved it up after my friend commented on it on his blog. I thought the movie provided a very human portrayal of a man who fell upon hard times and into homelessness and struggled to climb his way back out. I did not buy into the spirituality. It seemed to lack substance and drive book sales or something. Overall, I was glad I watched it.

Take the Lead with Antonio Banderas
Ok, how many movies have there been about courageous teachers who transform the lives of inner city kids? I didn’t rent this one, but when I started watching the beginning I had to stay up to watch the whole movie. I’m not a big Antonio Banderas fan, but he did an excellent job of acting in the movie. I guess the whole ballroom dancing thing was a large enough curiosity hook to separate it from the other movies about troubled inner city kids. Definately worth watching!

Proof with Gweneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, & Jake Gyllenhaal
I missed the first few minutes of this one, but it was really good. It’s a little similar to A Beautiful Mind but definately stands apart. Gweneth Paltrow was amazing in this movie. Jake Gyllenhaal was ok. Anthony Hopkins’ appearances are limited but he’s old, heavy, and going crazy in the film, so he provides some depth. He’s Paltrow’s aging mathematical genius father who is losing his mind. Paltrow’s scenes jump back and forth to her time of caring for him and moving forward after he dies. In the process she’s wrestling with her own sanity and genius. A very good drama. I recommend it.

Skeleton Key with Kate Hudson and Gena Rowlands
I saw this one over a year ago and just watched it again today. I enjoy movies filmed in or set in Louisiana, especially if they’re good. This is a darker movie about old New Orleans and voodoo, and it has some amazing plot twists. It’s not a horror film but a great suspense thriller. It’s grade A entertainment that will keep you hooked.

I have seen many but not all James Bond movies over the years and generally have enjoyed them, at least up until Pierce Brosan, so I was a bit skeptical about a new Bond franchise featuring Daniel Craig, but I thoroughly enjoyed Casino Royale. The movie is a bit of a marathon; I think it was over 3 hours long but definately a must see. I think Daniel Craig is a slightly darker character than his predecessors and comes across more believable when interacting with the opposite sex. The first half hour is one of the most action packed I’ve seen, especially when you consider it’s mostly acrobatic physical action without a bunch of explosions and hi-tech gadgets. The plot is very engaging, but just when you think the movie is over another twist develops. I think I anticipated the ending at least three different times after the first hour and a half. You definately get your money’s worth out of this one. There are some major defining moments in the end that alter the Bond character and complicate him even further, which makes you anticipate a sequel. I’ll be waiting.

I highly recommend the movie The Prestige, if only for the star-studded cast: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Crane, Piper Perabo, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, and Andy Serkis. I recently saw Andy Serkis in Longford, and he’s slated to appear in several more upcoming movies. It’s sort of become a Where’s Waldo? fascination of mine to spot him in other movies since LOTR. Who in the world thought of pairing Andy Serkis and David Bowie as the “mad scientists” in the secluded forest? How cool is that? How could you not enjoy a movie about magicians, even if it follows closely on the heels of The Illusionist (I’m also a big Edward Norton fan). I also enjoyed the movie for the amazing plot twists. It’s definately worth adding to your Blockbuster queue.

“Success is a really good thing to attain, so you can cross it off the list of things that will make you happy.”

“I think we are here to be a witness to creation.”

Jim Carrey on The Today Show on NBC, February 20, 2007

Who knew that Jim Carrey could deliver such pearls of wisdom. This is a fascinating interview that says alot of the power of intention and motivation. I encourage you to watch it.

I encourage you to watch the trailer for this amazing movie soon to be released, Into Great Silence, a film about the Carthusian monks. Here is a description from Zeitgeist Films:

Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all.

I’ve been watching a ridiculous amount of movies lately since joining the Blockbuster Total Access program. There were a few quotes too good not to share from a few movies I’ve seen recently:

“The Universe will expand, then it will collapse back on itself, then it will expand again. It will repeat this process forever. What you don’t know is that when the Universe expands again, everything will be as it is now. Whatever mistakes you make this time around, you will live through on your next pass. Every mistake you make you will live through again and again forever. So my advice to you is to get it right this time around because this time is all you have.”
Prot (Kevin Spacey), from K-PAX

“I do not know what the theme of my homily today ought to be. Do I want to talk about the miracle of our Lord’s divine transformation? Not really, no. I don’t want to talk about His divinity. I’d rather talk about His humanity. I mean, you know, how He lived His life here on earth. His kindness, His tolerance…Listen, here’s what I think. I think we can’t go ’round measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.”
Young Priest Peri Henri (Hugh O’Conor), from Chocolat

I finally watched The Davinci Code recently long after all the fuss died down. I thought it was a great movie. The plot was amazing and Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, and Ian McKellan were phenomenal. I liked the movie most for what it was, a movie. It is great entertainment, but I appreciate the courage to ask questions. No reasonable person I know believes The Davinci Code is anything more than a skillful compilation of myth and hypothetical theories assembled by the craftsman Dan Brown. No matter whether you fall on the side of “for” or “against,” faith or science, the truth that is indisputable is that there are huge volumes of information about the birth, life, death, and possible lineage of Jesus that we do not know. In fact there is more that we don’t know about Jesus than we do know, but that does not in any way diminish His impact upon the world and upon individuals. I’ll save my summarizing and critiquing. I’d rather you watch the movie or read the book for yourself and make up your own mind. I personally found the most moving and transcendent part of the movie to be the final conversation between Robert and Sophie, which raises the most important question of the film, “What would you do?”

Sophie: What would you do, Robert?Robert: Ok, maybe there is no proof. Maybe the grail is lost forever, but, Sophie, the only thing that matters is what you believe. History shows us Jesus was an extraordinary man, a human inspiration. That’s it. That’s all the evidence has ever proved, but when I was a boy… when I was down in that well Teabing told you about, I thought I was going to die, Sophie. What I did… I prayed. I prayed to Jesus to keep me alive so I could see my parents again, so I could go to school again, so I could play with my dog. Sometimes I wonder if I wasn’t alone down there. Why does it have to be human or divine? Maybe human is divine. Why couldn’t Jesus have been a father and still been capable of all those miracles?Sophie: Like turning water into wine?

Robert: Well, who knows? His blood is your blood. Maybe that junkie in the park will never touch a drug again. Maybe you healed my phobia with your hands.

Sophie: And maybe you’re a knight in the grail quest.

Robert: Well, here’s the question. You’re a living descendant of Jesus Christ. Would she destroy faith, or would she renew it? So, I say again, what matters is what you believe.

Sophie: Thank you for bringing me here, for letting Him choose you, Sir Robert.

I watched Mr. Holland’s Opus again last night for about the fifth time. I love the movie most because it’s about purpose and significance in life. I see most of life differently these days than I used to, so even watching a familiar movie can be a new experience.

Near the end of the film upon Mr. Holland’s forced retirement he says, “You work for 30 years because you think that what you do makes a difference, you think it matters to people, but then you wake up one morning and find out, well no, you’ve made a little error there, you’re expendable. I should be laughing.” That struck a nerve in me because it verbalizes how I felt after seven years of pastoral ministry.

In real life seldom do we walk into an auditorium filled with friends and acquaintances cheering in gratitude for the difference we’ve made in their lives. Maybe we’ll never really know the measure of our contribution, but God knows. His opinion is the only one we should be concerned about.

You see, everyday I wake up to two little boys shouting my name. God gave them to me, and everyday presents me with an opportunity to make an imprint on their lives deeper and more lasting than anyone else can ever make, one I pray that bears a resemblance to Him. Because they matter, I matter. So we discover that we find our significance most in helping others find their own.