Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Heart-Breakingest Song in American Musical Theatre

"You Should Be Loved" from 1997's Side Show

Some background:

Daisy and Violet are conjoined twins who make a change from being a circus act to becoming famous stage performers in the 1930s. They start out as part of a freak show (where they meet their African-American friend Jake -- and where Jake falls in love with Violet) and later, under the guidance of Terry, a slick promoter, and Buddy, his number two, they hit it big on the Vaudeville stage or whatever. All the while Daisy longs for fame and Violet longs for a family of her own.

At a fancy New Year's Eve party, Buddy tries to cheer up Violet and ends up proposing marriage. In an onstage number, Buddy, Violet, and Daisy offer an upbeat invitation to their wedding. But backstage both Daisy and Buddy separately express doubts as to how the arrangement will work.

Jake loves Violet and when he overhears the doubtful Buddy, he confesses to Violet (with Daisy right there, naturally) that he has loved her (and, one presumes, not Daisy) for years. ("You Should Be Loved" in the video above or, if you're reading on The Facebook, here.)

At which point Violet, who has spent her whole life dealing with curious glares and snickering strangers, tells him that "the world won't let us" get married ... because they're different races.

So, Jake is willing to overlook a second entire adult human permanently attached to the love of his life and put up with a lifetime of whispers and stares, but Violet can't possibly imagine what others would say if she married a Black man. (I honestly don't know why the dialogue isn't, "Woman?! You have two heads!" but I guess that's not the characterization they're going for.)

Therefore [Major Spoiler Alert, but come on, you're not likely to find Side Show being produced near you any time soon], on the Big Day, for which they've sold a bunch of tickets and there are tons of people in the audience to see this wedding, Jake announces that he's leaving, and Buddy confesses he's not strong enough to marry Violet. Daisy tries to get Terry to marry her, but he can't do it, so Daisy kicks him to the curb and insists that Violet and Buddy go through with the ceremony...which will at least benefit everyone's career. As the wedding proceeds, they go ahead with the full understanding and acceptance of who they are and what they are doing...

So, like, NOBODY ends up happy. I mean, the twins have this song at the end about how they'll support each other forever and whatnot, but man! Heart-breaking, right?

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Prayer for Forgiveness

Hi! It's been just under a month since my last post. (Lots going on, etc.) I am sorry for the delay in posting...maybe this will lead you to forgive me?

St. Luke's is hosting mid-week services through Lent (12:00 on Wednesdays), and I get to be a part of the next one -- March 17, 12:00pm, St. Luke's UMC, 100 W. 86th Street in Indianapolis, you should totally come, etc.

This Wednesday's service focuses specifically on forgiveness. My role? I get to pray (the draft of my prayer is below, but trust me, it's way better spoken) and do the benediction (which, if I do it the way I think I'm going to do it, you'll want to be there for that, too*). So, again: you should totally come.

Anyway, this is my prayer-in-progress. Most of it is mine. "Our Common Prayer" at the end is one of the many versions of The Lord's Prayer we've been using in this special series of services.

God with us, here and everywhere, now and always:

How we complicate forgiveness. How easily our human-ness gets in the way of your divine light flowing in us and through us out to the world. How often our broken-ness disconnects us from our communion with you and our fellowship with one another. How quickly we forget that even when we’re less than we know we can be, we’re more than we ever dreamed possible, through you.

Remind us to seek your love and teach us to forgive ourselves. Grant that we might heal ourselves, so that we might become healers of others.

Help us to celebrate your love and enable us to forgive and be forgiven by those closest to us. Let us embrace the vulnerability of the open hand and open heart, so that we might feel your Spirit flowing freely between us.

Lead us to live your love and encourage us to forgive and be forgiven by our neighbors. Reveal in us the courage to reach out, the humility to start over, the trust and trustworthiness to commit to real relationships with those in our community.

Guide us to share your love and empower us to forgive and be forgiven by our enemies. Challenge us to be role models for the world and help us see past war and other acts of aggression, so that we might catch more and more glimpses of your Glorious Dream for us – your Vision of peace, of light, and of love among all people, where forgiveness pours down on all people like a summer rainshower and where forgiveness is cherished by all people as a precious jewel.

And we ask you to be with us, God, as together we pray Our Common Prayer:

God, you are life for us,
Holy be your name.
Your new day come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our bread for the morrow;
And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Strengthen us in the time of test,
And deliver us from evil.
For the power and the splendor and the fulfillment are yours,
Now and forever. Amen.

* UPDATE: Never mind. My musical benediction got vetoed. I mean, the benediction I've written is pretty good, but it's not going to be as fabulous as it might have been.