Sunday, January 20, 2013

Les Miserables

I didn't hear about Les Miserables until I was in high school. I finally was able to experience it my senior year with some friends while we were at Theatre Fest. I have to admit that those few hours were some of the most life changing and spiritual ones of my life. After that I was blessed to get the Original Broadway Soundtrack for Christmas and loved it!

Since that time I have seen it a time or two and have listened to the music many, many times! Each time...I learn something new about myself, my relationship with God and others, and about many things in life.

A few months ago my roommate introduced me to the 25th Anniversary Concert Edition of Les Miserables. Again, I saw something new. I finally became excited about the movie coming out, then I could watch it when I felt the need for some inspiration. I went to see it with my mom and sister and learned more. Today though, when I went to watch it again with my dear friend Megan, I had a great moment of clarity. It is probably something that won't make sense to anyone else.

First, some of the previous things I have learned about: love, mercy, justice, grace, love, adversity, forgiveness, conflict, love, strengthening my relationship with God and Jesus Christ and sacrifice. Sounds like a Sunday School lesson, huh?

Today I had this moment after hearing some lines through the musical. The first during The Final Battle when Enjolras sings, "Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free." And then in the Epilogue/Finale of the show the chorus is singing, "Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night, it is the music of a people who are climbing to the light. For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord. They will walk behind the plough-share, they will put away the sword. The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!"

This thought was that most people want peace. They want the time when the Savior will reign on the earth and we will all be together. People want freedom. Most conflicts...the "good" side has been striving towards freedom and peace. For thousands of years that has been the goal. If people knew that through Christ they could come to this state, emotionally...spiritually.

Just something I learned, maybe I'm wrong but it meant something to me.

If you haven't experienced Les Miserables, try it out. Look up some music on YouTube, think about the Preview All button on iTunes. The Original Broadway or London Cast.

And remember: To Love Another Person Is To See The Face Of God.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

BRAVEHEARTS

This is for all of you who have made it through hard times and come out on the other side better, yet scarred. It comes from a speech given by President Theodore Roosevelt and the quote is often referred to as "The Man in the Arena"

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."


Whatever is happening in your life, keep going. If you must fail, make sure it is after you have done everything. And then you will have the lessons to help you make it through the next time. 

 





Sunday, January 6, 2013

Overflow

So many things! I have been home for the holidays since December 14 and have been sick almost the whole time. Yet it has still been an amazing visit home! I am doing so much better and am ready to continue in happiness til it is time to return to school.

Just a few thoughts on this beautiful Sunday I have had. This morning I was ready early for church...who would have thought? So I ran up to my room to say my prayers before we left for Alton. the whole ride was blessed as my parents and I talked, laughed and sang hymns.

Church today was special, it only happens once a month, Fast & Testimony Meeting. Going in I had more of an open heart than I have before. While I was listening to the hymns that were sung and really hearing the sacrament prayers, thoughts of things I had to do were creeping in. Oh, I need to e-mail her, or him or research this...but for the most part I was able to put them out.

As the testimonies began I decided to just work on finishing the last two pages of my journal, but the Spirit wouldn't let me. I kept having my attention drawn in by comments made by those I have known almost my whole life. These people have watched me grow up and I too have seen them go through many trials.

There were a few people that really spoke to me today. The first was Jack. He is an elderly man who has lost his wife, been through many health trials and just recently came out of the hospital. He said while he was there he decided to count his blessings and got to two before the nurses came in with the needles. Oh Jack, :). He continued to talk about how that was a blessing, and then talked about drinking in all his blessings and having to use the saucer first because his cup had run over. A man who has always been quiet and strong that I have never talked much with touched my soul. He has lived through bare means and has faith greater than I can fathom at times.

The next I want to mention was Dave. I remember a few things but wanted to share how he talked about the Lord's love for us. His wife works with the children in our church and in a lesson gave each a dropper of water to put some in the glass when they had a good thought about themselves. By the end there was no water in the glass. So she took the pitcher and poured it in the glass. The water went everywhere because there wasn't enough space in the glass for everything from the pitcher. And that the water was symbolic of the love that God has for us. There is not enough space in us for all the love that God has for us. He loves us so, so much! This was another moment where someone spoke to me; another man, who though we are not close, I have been friendly with his family for awhile. They are magnificent people with more faith than most. It is so inspiring.

The last one, Nicole. I just, we have become close friends this past year and when she got up to bare her testimony I just felt the love that God has for her and her awesome family. My lessons from her today are too personal to share but I love her so much! Her faith, strength and tenacity are so inspiring.

It has been a tremendous Sunday. I feel some of the overflow today, both in blessings and in love.

Everything in life boils down to this, God loves you; so love other people.