What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

25 February 2018

To See the Face of God

Last week, I picked up A Million Miles in a Thousand Years again and have been re-reading it. You know, because when you have 1000 books on your to-read list, and 30 on the real, live to-read shelf in your living room, why wouldn't you reread something instead of trying something new?

There's probably a whole post in that last sentence, but it is not today's post.

So! Reading A Million Miles, which is all about the story we're writing with our lives, always reminds me of bishop from Les Misérables. Now there's a guy who was living a great story. His treatment in the musical version is brief but beautiful:

Now seems like a good time to say that this version, while great (Colm Wilkinson! What's not to love about that guy?), has nothing on the stage version. Ramin Karimloo as Valjean in the scene with the bishop remains one of the most powerful couple minutes of theatre I've ever seen. This is a moment that is best experienced live, and if you're very very lucky, from close enough to the stage to clearly see the actors' faces.

In rehearsal and on Broadway. I don't have the words for how incredible
Ramin was in this scene. (Adam Monley as the bishop also amazing.) The
whole plot of forgiveness and redemption really begins right here.
Image sources: Rehearsal, Broadway.
Anyway, the bishop--Monsieur Myriel--lived an amazing story, and it's that story that he invites Valjean into when they meet. My beloved Signet Classics edition of Les Misérables has 1460 pages. I don't usually recommend that people read the whole thing--it's quite a slog for the modern reader and you have to really hang in there through some completely unrelated and quite lengthy chapters--but Monsieur Myriel is the star of the first 104 pages. If you want to read about someone who used his life to write a great story, that's the part you should read.

To love another person is to see the face of God. But the better task, I think, is to choose to see the face of God when we see those standing before us. Seeing the face of God on someone else will surely call me to love that person as myself--as a human being, as a fellow traveller on this planet, as someone else who is also doing the best that she (or he) can to navigate a world gone mad. A great story, indeed.

This video gives me so many feels. Kyle Jean-Baptiste, in his brief time in in the company of Les Misérables, understudied Ramin as Valjean. This was his first performance in the role. Just over a month later, Kyle died as a result of an accidental fall. It's worth going back to the beginning and watching the whole thing.

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