Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Street Corner Symphony

My friends and I agree on one thing about the 2007 movie August Rush: if it had been about three minutes longer, it would have gone from "What a touching film" to "This movie changed my life." For that reason, I've only seen it once. But it's a testament to the power of the story that several scenes from it have stuck with me.

August is a musical prodigy, unknowingly orphaned by his musician parents, whose whole love story spanned only one night. (His mother was in an accident and was told that he died at birth.) He decides that his musical gifts are the key to finding his lost parents. His search leads him into the hands of a modern-day Miss Hannigan, played by Robin Williams, who makes talented kids perform on the streets for money. Thankfully, some good people recognize August's talent and whisk him away to Juilliard, happiness, and safety. But just as a better life is unfolding for him, Robin Williams intimidates him into re-joining his troupe. In one cut, August goes from conducting a symphony he composed to performing on top of a box on a dirty street corner. That scene grieved me more than any other in the movie, and it took me a while to figure out why.

How often do we let others keep us in a place that we've outgrown, or that wasn't right for us to begin with? Even worse, how often do we do it to ourselves? We stay in our cages because we don't want to disappoint others, or because it's just too scary to venture out. I've done it for those and many other reasons. I've encountered many people who encouraged me in my fear of change. But I'm learning to recognize when God is calling me on to something new, or telling me I've learned all I can in a particular area. As we grow, things that were comfortable and beneficial sometimes become oppressive - and that's okay. It's part of developing as a person, and nothing to feel guilty or scared about. Obviously I'm not talking about things that are meant to be permanent, like marriage. I'm talking about hobbies, jobs, clubs, churches, cities, even relationships. We're all works in progress. We all have comfortable corners that are meant for us, but once in a while, God calls us on to Juilliard. So if He calls you, go and conduct the symphony He meant you to write. Don't stay on the street corner, no matter how safe and familiar it may seem. It would be a sad shame.

(And I probably need to hear this more than any of you.)


  1. Interesting post. We must be pondering similar things because I started a post on this very topic. Hope all is well with you.

  2. Now I want to see this movie! Thank you for the post. Very poignant.

  3. Lovely thoughts. I adore this movie. I agree that I needed an additional three minutes at the end. Three measly little minutes. :)