Monday, April 2, 2012

The Miserable Obsession

Okay, I'm ready to come clean and admit it. I have an obsession. I know what you're thinking. "Well duh... we already know you're obsessed with pancakes. What else is new?"

Not even close. In fact, if it came right down to it, I would never eat another pancake until Jesus returns if it meant I couldn't hear the music of Les Miserables', the longest-running stage musical in modern history. One of my most cherished memories is seeing it onstage with my Dad at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit shortly before he passed away. Pam and I saw it again at the Fisher a few years later.

I saved up for months to buy myself a Christmas present that I'll finally get to enjoy on Tuesday: a front row ticket for Les Mis at the Wharton Center on the campus of MSU. (Pam doesn't share my obsession, so only one ticket was needed this time around. She's seen it once, and she's fine with that. Poor misguided young lady.) I feel like an 8-year old on Christmas morning! Rarely do I splurge on anything anymore. We hardly go out to eat, to the movies, or even on road trips because money is tight. In fact, Pam and I have a date night about once a year. We're okay with that. Bills have to be paid. But there's something about the music and story of Les Mis that has captured my heart, and I can't stay away.

I think it's because I see so much Biblical truth in the story's main character, Jean Valjean. He had a rough start... spending 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family, and for trying to escape. Yet a kindly Bishop showed him forgiveness, and that one simple act of love turned his life around. He went on to become a wonderful father to an orphaned girl, and heroically saved the life of her fiance' during a bloody student-led revolt against a corrupt government. In short, because his life had been changed, he put the needs of others ahead of his own.

The apostle Paul wrote in Acts 20:24, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." Intentional or not, I think that's the message of Les Miserables'... that's certainly what it means to me. It's the way I want to live my life.

The finale'.... oh, the finale'! If they don't play it at my funeral, I just may find a way to come back and haunt someone. Jean Valjean sings the line I want inscribed someday on my tombstone: "To love another person is to see the face of God."

Yeah. I can be obsessed with that.