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Thursday, June 10, 2010

the world was a song, and the song was exciting

 "But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder.  As they tear your hopes apart, as they turn your dreams to shame."
-I Dreamed A Dream, Les Misreables


I've been listening to a lot of Les Mis lately. A lot of Les Mis. Kind of a musical nut. I make no apologies for my abundant references or my frequent outbursts of song.

It's funny, one of my dear friends, BBB (who I've given a shout out here before, hey girl hey! Lovemiss you), recently wrote a post about finding your innisfree.  Yeats' definition of personal paradise.  The place where you mind wanders and finds its resting place. 

Innisfree happens to me when I'm in the midst of a musical.  Whether I'm watching them on YouTube (sorry, I know it's illegal, but 80 bucks to see a show, on top of several hundred more to actually get to New York is so not in my budget right now.  Hello, trying to get my Master's here!), listening to them or playing numbers from them on the piano - it's my silly, worldly pleasure.

And it's special because only a few (very few, ridiculously few) amount of people understand this. 

This is completely besides the point I was originally trying to make with this post.  It's happening more and more, this easily-distractedness.  Must be the summer heat.

So, recently, I've been drilling my mind with Les Mis.  It's a hard story to summarize, so many subplots.  But, in the beginning there is this woman, Fantine, a factory-worker-soon-turned-prostitute.  She is thrown out of work because it's discovered that she has a child she is supporting out of wedlock. The child's, Cossette's, father "abandoned them leaving them flat."  And it is her reputation that suffers, and her loss of a job as a result.

She sings a song that is pure sorrow in musical form.  It's haunting. 

And it made me so thankful.  So thankful to live in a culture where (for the most part) a woman is not held at arm's length if she is in a situation where she has to support a child on her own, she is not shunned from society.

Last year in the Dominican Republic, I was visiting homes in the beautiful city of Santa Domingo with Pastor Carlos and a few church friends.  We approached this young woman with a child.  She, we discovered after a lengthy and challengingly-translated conversation, was sixteen years old. 

Carlos looked at her and asked, "Do you enjoy being a mother?"

No judgment.  No ugliness.  Just genuine curiosity.  This is the world that we are living in today.  It is the result of countless women's efforts throughout the years.  We are reaping the rewards. 

I guess I just write this to say that I'm thankful that the society I live in, though it definitely has its flaws, would not brand me with a scarlet letter and write me off as no better than an impure breed of a dog, or rat if I were in Fantine's position. 

Watch this, you'll see what I mean.  Perhaps you'll find an innisfree of your own to escape to.  Oh, and don't say a thing about Susan Boyle.  She may have turned the public's attention to this song, and this wonderful, epic musical, but she does not sing it better.  I promise. 



And we were all put here for "Such a time as this." Makes you think, doesn't it? We were all placed here with these special opportunities that other women before us were not able to have. What are you going to live for now that the generations before us suffered in our place? It's so beautiful. It's so inspiring. Don't waste it.

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