I got to see the movie, Les Misérables, on Christmas Day with my wonderful mother-in-law, Judy. It was my first time seeing the show in any format. I learned some lessons that I thought my loyal blog-readers may enjoy. Please note: Spoilers Ahead
My 5 Life Lessons:
1 Always listen to my husband. He suggested that we buy our tickets online several hours before the show started. When we arrived, the line to the movie was out the door. We would have never made it if I hadn’t listened to him.
2 Life is tragic. Period. It seems the longer I live, the more I see this theme. If you’ve seen this show, you know the countless people that experience tremendous tragedy. Especially poor Fantine. She loses her job, sells her hair, her teeth and worse to support her child. “There was a time when the world was a song, and the song was exciting. There was a time. Then it all went wrong.” I am still shocked that Jude is not perfectly healthy. When you deliver a baby, and all is well, you thank God and think it’s over. We didn’t figure out that Jude had anything really medically wrong with him until he started having myoclonic seizures at 15 months. I never saw it coming. And while I’m lucky I still have my hair, I feel Fantine’s sense of loss of that dream.
3 Forgiveness is an amazing, life-changing gift. Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean. And if I had spent 19 years in jail for stealing bread, I’d be bitter too. When he is released and steals from a church, the priest has a chance to prosecute him. But he does something amazing. He says what he stole was a gift, and then gave him more. This may seem like stating something obvious, but it really dawned on me that this level of forgiveness was amazing. The priest could act on behalf of God. He could do something so powerful and rare. And it changed Jean Valjean’s soul.
4 Revenge, while tempting, does more harm to you than your foe. Russell Crowe played Javert, always on the go trying to find Jean Valjean. It was his life’s mission. And in the end, Jean Valjean’s act of kindness ultimately killed Javert. I have a very hard time forgiving people, especially those closest to me, who let me down. But this movie made me realize that I have the power and gift of forgiveness. Again, pretty obvious, but it touched my heart.
5 My mother-in-law is proud, strong-willed and more independent than I thought possible. She has survived so much loss and so much love. She is brave and kind. The movie theater was so packed that we didn’t get to sit together. But I did buy her a bottle of water that some nice strangers helped pass it down the row to her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get the bottle open. So she held that bottle of water for three hours and did not ask for help as to not bother any of the strangers around her. I love her strength and independence. She doesn’t want to miss a thing, and rarely asks for help. It reminds me of someone else I know in my family.
The movie was amazing. The theater was completely full, and completely silent until the end when all you could hear were little sobs as people tried to hide their tears. It really was a great Christmas movie. I think about Mary, feeling a bit like Fantine. I’m sure hers was not the life she imagined. Cold, alone, pregnant. And the incredible forgiveness we get, and even better, can give. Christmas miracles indeed.