Thursday, October 20, 2011

Harvest and Mr. Holland’s Opus


(This post is part of the CW Blog-chain.  Check out the other great posts on the topic of “harvest” by clicking on names in the side bar.)


I am in the autumn of my life, in a period of harvest.

When I apply the theme of harvest to myself, I think of Mr. Holland’s Opus. My life parallels Mr. Holland’s in many ways. I retired after teaching nineteen years; Mr. Holland, thirty years.

Mr. Holland wanted to be a composer; me, an author. Mr. Holland and I first viewed teaching as a backup plan. We both thought we could teach and pursue our artistic endeavors.

We were both wrong.

The joys of imparting information and transforming young lives became more important than our artistic pursuits. One quote from the movie is this: A teacher has two jobs; fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important, give those minds a compass so that knowledge doesn’t go to waste.

And Mr. Holland gave his students that—not just a knowledge of music but the “compass.” He passed to them his love for music. Mr. Holland created an opus, a work of art, yet not what he envisioned. Instead it consisted of the students he inspired over the years. They were his opus.

As I taught science, I, too, endeavored to give a “compass.” I brought God into the equation as I taught about his wonderful creation. Perhaps I also served as a Christian example to my students and planted seeds that are even now being harvested. That is my prayer.

Of course, I made mistakes. As did Mr. Holland. Mr. Holland’s biggest mistake was not being supportive of his deaf son. Eventually he seeks to make amends and repair their broken relationship. My favorite part of the movie is when he sings the John Lennon song to his Beautiful Boy.


Mr. Holland had one son; I have two. And they were and are beautiful boys, inwardly and outwardly. After watching the movie the first time, I sang the song to them, in my broken voice, broken more with emotion welling up inside me. For I, too, have made many mistakes. Yet God still chose to bless my family and me.

Families are the largest part of our opus, the harvest we reap. The harvest that belongs to God.

In this autumn of my life, I hope to continue harvesting seeds I have sown. No, more than just harvest. With God’s help, I want to take the wheat to the mill, and grind it fine, and make the bread. MM900285247 With the crystal spring running through my life, perhaps I will succeed.

It is not too late to produce my opus, my written body of work. Now is the time for me to take my life experiences, the knowledge I have gathered, and produce books before the winter is upon me when no man shall reap.

If I am able to bake the bread, i.e., produce the books, it will be because God gave the rain and the soil and the sun. He gave me the means to grind the wheat and will give me the skill to turn the flour into bread. bread

The harvest truly is great, but I must choose to do the work.

Back of the loaf is the snowy flour
And back of the flour is the mill;
And back of the mill is the wheat
And the shower and the sun
And the Father's will.

(~Maltbie D. Babcock)




  1. whar a lovely take on Harvest
    thank you
    biiiig hug


  2. Sheila, this is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

  3. Well, Sheila, thanks for starting my day crying. In a good way. I loved your connection of producing fruit from the writing gifts God gave us and then that writing becomes the harvest. Hopefully for His glory. Thanks for the post.

  4. Beautiful! I always love reading your words!

  5. As another "mature" author, I can relate to your feelings. I can't count the times I've asked myself. "Why didn't you start this when you were young like Stephen Keng and Dean Koontz. The answer is, of course, because I wasn't supposed to start it when I was young. There's something to be said for accumulating life experiences (wisdom?) and them putting it into your writing. Peace and Blessings

  6. Wow, that was really wonderful and encouraging. Thanks so much for sharing that!

  7. wow, that's a great post! i know that God has amazing things in store for you Sheila, and the best is yet to come :)

  8. Thanks, Edward, Suzette, and Chris!

    I appreciate your comments so much! Y'all are such an encouragement to me!

  9. 'Mr. Holland's Opus' is such a wonderful movie and I can relate to it as well. I'm also a teacher, and like him (and you, apparently) teaching was a way to make money in 'my field' (Art and Literature) while pursuing the real dream ... It's good to be reminded that pouring into the lives of others is still the real purpose of life. I used to use this movie in my classes as well (when it was more current) but I still love the message behind it. Well said! What a harvest!

  10. Thanks, Tracy! It still remains one of my favorite movies!

  11. Great post this week. I like your relating harvest to your sons. Having two daughters who are both in college I am now beginning to see the fruits peep through in their actions. They have both thanked me for the time I have spent with them, even when it was doing nothing more than chill or texting them. Great reminder that all we do has meaning, even the little things.

  12. Dave, how wonderful your daughters have thanked you! So glad you stopped by! Thanks so much.

  13. Great take on this month's topic. I always wonder as writers what kind of impact we have on others, but I guess we'll will not know for sure until God shows us how our words and choices have affected others.

  14. Sheila, what a terrific post. I love that movie, and reading the parallels to your life is a blessing. I pray you meet with much success as you turn your writing harvest into bread to feed souls.

  15. I am still catching up but I wanted to let you know how I totally agree with your thought of "The harvest truly is great, but I must choose to do the work." I just did a blog post for another author and talked about the importance of not staying frozen but doing the work needed.

  16. Your post was full of hope for me. I'm in the season of sowing--sowing--sowing/raising children and keeping a home. Someday I hope to have a quiet season of writing. But we shall see what the Lord provides for me and when.

  17. Keri, glad I could provide some measure of hope! The Lord will provide.

    Bless you!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.