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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Redemption for the Wretched

Redemption for the Wretched
Section A Seat B-10 … score! I was up close and personal with the high school stars of my favorite theatre musicals: Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. For those who are not familiar, Les Miserables is French and loosely translates to The Wretched Poor or The Victims. The main character is anything but a victim as the story unfolds, our hero goes from being a convict on the run to a successful business man, nurturing step-father, war hero, and ultimately the story takes us to his final breaths shortly after the marriage of his beloved Cosette to Marius, her beloved. The production was done expertly and the music was right on. As a pianist myself, I’m a tough sell when it comes to the arrangements, and they were excellent! I highly recommend reading the book or experiencing the musical theatre adaptation for yourself – you will not be disappointed.
As I experienced Les Miserables again this weekend I could not help but think about the lessons or parables being told throughout the story and the concept of being forgiven and then forgiving others and merciful to them. The unearned, unexpected, unrequested mercy of a stranger doesn’t have to be anything huge. In the story, the convict stole gold and silver candle holders from a priest who told authorities he had given them to him as a gift and he then told the convict to use this gift to get right with God and become an honest man. Though it is unlikely that something like that would happen to any of us tomorrow, it is likely that a stranger may let us go in front of them in line at the grocery store, may wave us forward from a four-way stop, might tell us to keep the change when purchasing coffee, or the vehicle in front of us at Starbucks may cover our bill as well as their own.
We are all wretched in one way or another. We’ve said something we shouldn’t have, done something we regret, treated someone unfairly, not taken the time to be patient, etc…and yet we are shown redemption every day. Maybe not in the spiritual sense of being rescued from evil, but in the sense of being rescued from something. Instead of being late to drop your children off at school, the nice person who let you go at the four way stop saved you from being frustrated and late. Instead of being short the $4.32 your spouse needs for the paper delivery person (because you spent it at Starbucks), you still have it in your purse because of the courtesy of a stranger.
These are small things and small examples, but it just got me to thinking that we don’t have to look for something big. I’m not waiting for someone to rescue me from a burning building, and sometimes just a smile from a stranger feels even better. You can’t put a price tag on that feeling. When you know that you don’t deserve anything, kindness feels like a million dollars. I’m going to remember this as I venture out this week. I want to be more patient, kind, and I want to remember that a smile is priceless.
May your paths be filled with an abundance of lemons, sugar, and sunshine!

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