Being faced with our past

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Tonight I was able to go watch “Les Miserables” again…for the second time!  Watching this musical/film the first time left me with the following words:

  • Haunting
  • Powerful
  • Grace incarnate
  • Redemption
  • Transformation
  • Raw Emotions

To say the least, it effected me for weeks after seeing it.  I have always loved the story.   Yet seeing this version on the big screen left me greatly impacted.  I didn’t get caught up in comments about whether the actors voices matched those known for the stage productions. I just loved it.  I loved the cinematography, I loved the angles and the placement of the singers on the screen.  I loved seeing the raw emotions in their faces on the close-ups. I cried as they cried.  The scene in the beginning where the masses are singing about the poor hit me deep to the core – the images – powerful!   Now having seen it a second time…those emotions I have for this film are even stronger.

Yet here’s something new that hit me after this showing.  The first time, I saw this movie was in the USA right before Christmas.  This time, I was able to see it in France.  We live 15 minutes from this theatre – it was in English with French sub-titles.  As the lights came up, I noticed the older  French couple sitting next to me were drying their eyes.  And then it hit me…this story  is part of their story.  Their history is being played out before them…the cost of freedom and those who paved the way!  I never focused on that part of the movie…I focused on the spiritual connection I have with the movie.  Then I wonderd what they were thinking.  If they felt a spiritual connection.  If watching their history moved them deeply.  If they thought about all the Americans that were sitting around them watching this and did we really understand that part of the movie that was part of them.  You see, I felt that way when last month, we watched the film “Lincoln” in the same town in France, with Frenchmen surrounding us.   I remember watching a part of my history being played out before me.  I was faced once again with my cultures past and parts of it was not very pretty.  I remember wondering if our French neighbors could fully watch  “Lincoln” and feel the same emotions I was feeling.  I’m not sure…..

There’s something about our past, our history that goes deep about who we are.  Yet watching “Les Mis”….. this man was given a second chance.  A chance to become a better man.  A fresh start. A man devoted and given over to God.  It changed his past, his present and his future forever.  Not only his life, but others he came in contact with.

May I not live or dwell in my past, but allow the grace that God has shown me, change me for a life time!   Alleluia, Amen!


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