(Belated) Memory Monday
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Tuesday. It’s just that sometimes, like those times when you’re working full-time and studying full-time and being a wife and a step-mom, there just isn’t time to write all the blogposts you would like. I had one for yesterday, though. I really did, and in the meantime, I am waiting to receive permission to post the post I wish to use for today’s Tuesday Reblog, so I will write yesterday’s post today and . . . you get the idea.
On Sunday afternoon I went with Sis-Donna (one of Paul’s sisters) to see Les Misérables–the live musical, not the movie. It was a first for her and probably a fifth or sixth for me. The last time I saw it (before Sunday) was at least fifteen years ago, surely, and that time it didn’t make me cry, so that I decided I needed not to see it for a while in order for it to have its full effect again the next time I did. I have to tell you, though, that it was and always will be my absolutely favourite musical.
I guess fifteen years is sufficient lag time for the show to wreak havoc with my tear ducts again, because this most recent performance set off the waterworks with no trouble at all. Apart from the sweeping musical-long theme of redemption (which is what I truly love about it, and we’ll get back to that), there are, of course, the side-stories, like the love story of Cosette and Marius. Or, really, the love triangle, which includes Eponine. This was the first time I’ve seen this musical since I stopped being Eponine. I spent most of my teens, all of my twenties, and a significant part of my thirties being, evidently, patently undatable, while frequently being in love with one of my male friends who would gush at me about whatever girl he was actually interested in who wasn’t me. I strongly identified with Eponine for most of my life.
I never thought I’d see the day when I almost couldn’t remember what being her felt like. So it was with a shock on Sunday that I realised I had almost forgotten. I cried for her anyway, as she sang her heart-rending songs–tears of distant sorrow, and also tears of gratitude for a husband who loves me. Also, tears of being emotionally manipulated. I think the music of that musical, when encountered live, throws a lasso around your emotions and drags them around for fun. It’s bizarre that it’s so enjoyable.
So I have a question–particularly for those who 1) have seen this musical and 2) would not label themselves “Christian.” Assuming you like the musical (because I have yet to meet someone who has seen it who doesn’t), why? Is it the lassoed emotions thing? Or is it something else? I will further confess what’s behind my question:
The Eponine segment of the story always resonated with me personally, but if the story and the music were only about that, it would not be a Great Story, and I don’t think I would have gone to see it five or six times on a life-long non-existent budget. What pulls me in again and again is how “Jesus-y” it is. Admittedly, the only time Jesus Himself is mentioned by name in the show is in the thoroughly loathsome Thénardiers’ song, “Master of the House,” and then it’s because they’re throwing His name around in vain. But the more I see this show, the more I am convinced that in a way, even more than Jean Valjean, God is the main character in this story.
I see misconceptions about Him and His character and His work. Some of the characters don’t believe in God, some of them mock Him, some of them see Him as a merciless judge . . . but the story itself portrays the justice and mercy and love of God in the (admittedly difficult) life of one man, Jean Valjean. As someone who loves Jesus, I recognise Jesus in this–I believe He is how we as humans can know the justice and mercy and love of God–how we can know real redemption–and so when I see Him portrayed so brilliantly through song and acting and story, my heart wells up and I think again how much I love Him . . . and that is why I Iove the musical, too.
Sis-Donna has a religious background though I’m not sure how pivotal it is for her at this point, and she liked the musical, so probably I should have just asked her what it was that she liked about it. But . . . I’m still getting to know Sis-Donna, honestly, and we’re related now, so maybe I wasn’t sure how to word the question without making her think her brother had married a fanatic (I mean, she probably already thinks that, but I don’t need to make it worse, do I?), so I didn’t. I think I’m less worried about The Readership. Oddly, I feel like I know you better, and . . . you’re here on this fanatic blog by your own free will, so it makes me less nervous to ask you. I’m just genuinely curious. If you love Les Mis and the thought of Jesus doesn’t make your heart beat faster, what is it that draws you to that musical instead?