Watched the movie Finding Forrester again after over a decade, and had so many flashbacks. This movie is very special to me. For a season, it was the glue that held me together.
While I was in school, I was dealing with a faculty member who didn’t want me there. Each time I met with them, they encouraged me to quit the program and let me know that I didn’t belong. I didn’t tell anyone (until they crossed the line) because I didn’t want to make waves, and honestly I thought they might be right about me. The program was challenging and I was dealing with a lot at the time. I honestly considered dropping out many times, but each time I remembered the vision that got me there in the first place.
In my last semester, I was having some health issues—some acute pain that made attending classes extremely challenging. Sitting for an hour was excruciating. My classes were 3 hours. Most of my professors were supportive, as I made them aware of my condition at the beginning of the semester, but one instructor took it personally. As a result, I was given an ultimatum. Despite knowing my condition, I was instructed that if I wanted to graduate, I had to be on time for every class for the remainder of the semester, to remain in class for the entire time, and not leave early. I believe the exact quote was, “I don’t care if you have to lay on the floor….”
I was devastated, but quitting wasn’t an option. I was too close to the finish line. I didn’t know how I was going to honor their request, but I knew I didn’t have a choice.
Enter Finding Forrester. After that interaction, I began watching this movie every day before class. Watching this young man keep his head despite how he was being treated, and his eventual triumph, gave me hope. I recorded 3 minutes of dialogue from the movie in my phone and would play it as I walked to class. I would listen to his victory and the subsequent applause seconds before I approached the door to the lecture hall. It kept me going.
I didn’t miss a class. I wasn’t late. And I stayed the whole time. On my graduation day, that discouraging faculty member found me (I intentionally avoided them, lol). They admitted to having misjudged me and congratulated me on my success in front of my entire family.
Their words meant nothing. That was not my triumph. Of course, it was AWESOME to watch them “eat crow.” 😆 But my triumph was each day as I pressed to get to class on time. My triumph was enduring hours of shifting in my seat without shedding a tear. My triumph was in not forfeiting numerous semesters of lost sleep, effort, and sacrifice. And my ultimate triumph was when I made it through that last excruciating minute of the class that held my graduation hostage.
Each day as I walked and listened to his professor “eat crow,” I felt his triumph. It stirred up my inner strength to get through my own storm. I’ll forever be grateful to that movie (well the writers, directors, actors, etc.) because it got me through. It gave me hope.
We never know how our gifts may support someone else down the road. How many times has a song helped you get through a tough moment? Someone had to make the choice to do the work and release that. That book that you’ve been putting off writing, that piece you’ve been considering creating, that screenplay on your laptop you’ve toyed with completing….. You have no idea what your gift may help someone through. We have no idea how our gifts will support people we may never even meet….
I am on a journey to stop hiding my gifts and hoarding my creations. I accept that it’s time to set them free. I hope you’ll join me in letting your gifts see daylight. Who knows whose lives we’re meant to touch? Think about it….