Monday, April 04, 2011

How Les Miserables Saved Me

The last couple of weeks have been pretty stressful for me (hence my absence here in the blogosphere). I’ve let too many things get to me on a personal level that shouldn’t affect me, normally don’t affect me. The bottom line is that I allowed the burdens of this life to overtake me for this period of time and it negatively affected me in many ways. I broke out in hives, I couldn’t sleep well, I was nauseous. I was angry, snapped at my family, and avoided people.

The days were heavy, dark, tedious, drudgery. The thankfulness was gone and consequently the joy. I was really struggling with a lot of things…more than I cared to admit.

You see, we all say things we don’t mean – we say that people, situation, things “drive us crazy”. I’ve tried very hard for a long time to avoid saying things like that because I believe very strongly in the power of words to affect you, to change you, to break you down. And yet, these last couple of weeks my tongue was going through some type of adolescent rebellion and I did not do a thing to keep it in check. So I believe that I was starting to live under the curses of those words I was speaking.

I believe that is how the enemy works – he starts chipping away at your mind. There is some mental illness in my family and there was a little part of me that kept asking the question, “Am I next?” What an awful lie to believe. The battleground is the mind and I was letting mine be setup for the massacre.

A few days ago we went to see Les Miserables. This is mine and Jerry’s favorite play. I was anxious and tense and was doing my best to snap out of it so I could enjoy myself. About half way through the first act I begged God to forgive me. I told Him I couldn’t handle these things any more – I couldn’t hold onto these burdens and I desperately needed His peace. And as I opened my eyes, His peace washed over me. Instantly the tension was gone. I held Jerry’s hand.

We watched the play – my favorite song – when Fantine dies – “Come to Me” did not make me cry as it normally does. Towards the end of the play – I was taken by surprise – strangely, like I have been nearly every other time I have watched it by the words that I love so dearly – the words that have settled this work of art into my heart forever. The main character, Jean Val Jean is dying and as he joins Fantine and Eponine in heaven singing, he turns and says, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” My tears fell down as I realized that I truly don’t get it. I do not see God because I do not love. My heart is cold and God is absent when I do not love.

All of this pain, this turbulence, this instability that I’ve been fighting – it was because love was absent. This overwhelming thought settled into my brain. I became resolute to find a way to love at all times, all places, all circumstances. I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I know that I must.

So Les Miserables – “the miserable” – the miserable experiences, people, circumstances – they truly are the things that will save me – if only I have love.

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