Meaning of Les Mis

While Wicked may have sparked the love, it didn’t make me a musical theatre fanatic. Another musical would be responsible for that. I fell in love with Wicked August of 2006 and seven years later in 2013, Les Mis would enter my life. Now, what was Les Mis’ meaning?

This is new:

Well, I NEVER thought a musical like Les Mis would enter my life. Prior, I thought tragic musicals didn’t exist. I was convinced I would NEVER love a tragedy. I had to be “tricked” to see the musical film. So, I wasn’t told it was a tragedy when I first saw it. I actually had to see the film a 2nd time to become a fan. A musical I would become obsessed with.

There were a number of new things I discovered when Les Mis entered my life. Firstly, I was blind to tragic musicals. So, the genre was new to the musical world. Second, a 5th core emotion began to exist- heartbreak, one of my favorite emotions expressed in song.

I got a new impression on death. I once thought death was unmemorable and wouldn’t happen during song. Well- “Come to Me”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, and “Finale” happen during Les Mis deaths. They also are memorable and bittersweet. Plus, the characters aren’t alone. Compassion is shown during those moments. Les Mis is way more than tragedy due to its spiritual nature. Les Mis literally challenged what I once thought about musicals.

Favorite Quotes that aren’t Lyrics

Usually when I list some of my favorite quotes, they usually belong to song lyrics. What if this time I bring up some of my favorite quotes that aren’t song lyrics?

The Quotes

“Those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light”

“Trust the Lord with All of Your Heart”

“One Person can Make a Difference and Everyone should Try”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

“Reading is….It’s going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship, an unveiling of new, incredible worlds. It’s living a life you weren’t born into and a chance to see everything colored by someone else’s perspective. It’s learning without having to face consequences of failures, and how best to succeed…..I think within all of us, there is a void, a gap waiting to be filled by by something. For me, that something is books and all their proferred expereinces”

“As you Wish”

“Everything you do, you do to make your heart sing”

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times of only one remembers to turn on the light”

Conclusion

I meant to include more, but these are the only ones I can think of. Some of them I actually had to look up- I knew what they were, but didn’t know the exact words.

The Day The World Came To Town Review

We all know how horrific and terrible 9/11 was, but there is more than we think relating to the events. Those who know of the musical, Come From Away, know the true compassion and humanity of Gander, Newfoundland. This is even expressed in the book, The Day the World Came to Town.

When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill.

Goodreads

What Gander did was amazing- they opened up their doors to these scared passengers. Sent them to schools, churches, the Salvation Army, and community centers to stay. They were able to provide food, clothing, and bedding. They did whatever they could do to make them feel comfortable. They really showed compassion to everyone in the best way possible- some even opened up their homes. There were a number of people on those 38 planes- of different religions, cultures, and ages, but yet Gander accepted all of them.

Even animals were treated well- that is what Bonnie was concerned about. She went out of her way to make sure animals were off those planes- from dogs, cats, and even monkeys. Each passenger had a different story to tell. Hannah had a firefighter son in NYC, you had two couples who just adopted a child, new friendships were formed, romance was blossomed, etc….

While the musical, Come From Away, isn’t based off of this novel, you still saw some of the same stories. This novel really shows how people really come together during times of major tragedies.

Welcome to the Rock

September 11th, 2001 is one of the WORST days in history. Despite the terrorist attacks on The World Trade Center, The Pentagon, etc…., there were still incredible moments of tremendous compassion and humanity. Due to this event, all of a sudden the US Airforce had to close, and planes had to land at the closest airport (for most of them, it was in Canada).

20 Years Later, Come From Away was filmed and brought to Apple TV. Come From Away is the remarkable story of Gander, Newfoundland. 38 Planes had to be redirected there—–despite the small size of Gander. Schools, Community Centers, Churches, and The Salvation Army are some places passengers were sent to. Part of these passengers were “Make a Wish” Children, who were on their way to Disney.

This particular production had an audience with frontline workers and 9/11 survivors. While watching, I realized I remembered a lot more than I thought (from the first time I saw the musical). I remembered Bonnie being concerned about the animals, the questioning of the Muslim, different religions coming together in prayer, Hannah’s concern for her firefighter son, the fun scene with some passengers wearing yellow hats, and I remembered the mention of the Gander Mascot. Here is one thing I didn’t notice- Nick and Diane’s romance (I didn’t know a couple was created.

As a matter of fact, even some of the songs sounded familiar such as “Welcome to the Rock”, “28 Hours/Wherever We Are”, etc…..As a matter of fact, the actors in Come From Away have to really talented- everyone has to play multiple roles (it’s like they are all part of the ensemble). There are a combo of fun, catchy and pretty emotional songs. You see many moments of compassion and humanity and even feel the heartbreak of 9/11 especially through the character, Hannah.

I would recommend checking this musical out or the book, The Day The World Came To Town (it is the Come From Away story)

The Meaning of Kanuga

There are several places that hold a LOT of meaning in our lives. They are the places that truly shape us. They are places that are sometimes considered “happy places”- it may not be a city or a country. It might be a particular location (like the theater). Located in Hendersonville, NC—-there is an Episcopalian Conference Center called Kanuga, where Parish Retreats, conferences, and Holidays happen. It isn’t some random place- it means a lot to me.

2003-2008

These were important years of my spiritual journey. Fran McKendree, a Folk Musician, was leading our music. We learned songs like “Sanctuary”, “Lord of the Dance”, “Servant Song”, “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High”, and “Celtic Blessing”. That was the start of my love for Contemporary Christian music.

Then, there were the hikes. At first, I wasn’t a hiking leader, but just a part of the hiking group. The combo of the songs and the hiking made me start to realize God was real. Kanuga was where my spiritual journey truly began. We stay in cottages (unless you want the inn or Guest Houses) during the Parish Retreats and other events.

Soon enough, I became a hiking leader- either we go up the Long Rocks Trial or the Eagle Rock Trial. In my opinion, the BEST Kanuga trial is Eagle Rock- yes more difficult, but better. I actually made my hiking stick during Thanksgiving at Kanuga.

One very special time at Kanuga was Winterlight, a high school youth conference from December 27th-January 1st. We sing three times a day, hang out with our small groups (part is usually icebreakers, part teamwork, and part service project. In addition, there is the New Year’s Eve banquet, Eucharist, and the New Year’s Eve Dance. They always do something special for the Seniors. My first service project was making blankets for migrant workers and the 2nd was making meals for the hungry. The activities we do with our small group is usually connected to the overall theme of the week.

Most of the Kanuga trips were Parish Retreats. They usually have singing, free time (various activities are offered or you could do your own thing), youth and adult programs and socials, and church services usually at the lakeside. Hiking is one of my favorite free time things to do- I usually chose Eagle Rock, but sometimes go for Long Rocks. Below are pictures from other Kanuga retreats.

Fun fact- the picture below is from my first Kanuga back in 1996. Yes, I was still living in Atlanta and the place didn’t mean anything to me until I started going with my Charlotte church. So, I somehow went from hiking on my dad’s back to becoming a hiking leader. Kanuga is a place to relax, to connect, and to bond. I am a mountain person, not a beach person. I feel much more connected to Him in the mountains.