to love another person is to see the face of god (or) why les mis makes me cry

les mis cosette

On a chilly night just this past January, I sat in the upper balcony of London’s Queens Theatre, far to the left, with a bit of the balcony railing blocking the lower left hand corner of the stage (but hey, restricted view means 15 pound tickets, and no college student says no to that). I honestly knew next to nothing about the show, only having heard some of the music before and none of it in context (thank you, Glee and Susan Boyle) and that people were obsessed with it. So I waited for the show to start and hoped it would be entertaining.

To give you the Reader’s Digest version: it wasn’t.

Quite honestly, to call Les Miserables an entertaining show would be false, as well as insulting.The only way to really summarize Les Mis is to say that it rips your heart out , but yet you’re happy about it.

It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life, and I fell in love.

It’s been almost a year now, but barely a day goes by that I don’t listen to, sing, or hum a piece from the soundtrack (oftentimes while in the shower…apologies to my roommate). It’s become a part of my life, this musical, and a part that I love very dearly. 

Whenever I listen to the music, I re-experience the production. The emotions are as present in the music as they were in the theatre, and I actually cry more listening to the music now than I did the night I actually saw the musical. And when it gets to the Finale, oh boy. There are always tears when I listen to the Finale. Besides the fact that the unison is beautiful on “to love another person is to see the face of God,” that line reminds me of the entire truth of the musical, a truth that is so important for us to remember in this fallen world. And then the chorus comes in with the reprise of “Do You Heart the People Sing?” and I am completely gone.

The reason I was so ready for the movie to come out went beyond the fact that I wanted to experience it again (though I desperately did). What I wanted most of all was to share this musical with the people I love so that they could understand the show that stole my heart, at least a little bit. And while they didn’t have as strong of an emotional reaction as I did (probably a good thing, seeing as how I cried the entire last hour of the movie), they at least get and appreciate it now, which is all I asked for.

Les Miserables has to be experienced to be understood, in my opinion. Whether that’s through the movie or the stage production or even just the soundtrack or 25th Anniversary Concert DVD, take some time and open yourself up to it. I promise it’s worth it.

And if it doesn’t make you cry, then I’m sure I’ll have cried enough for the both of us (especially considering I’m listening to the Finale right now…eep).

And remember
The truth that once was spoken:
To love another person is to see the face of God!

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.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes…
Tomorrow comes!

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2 thoughts on “to love another person is to see the face of god (or) why les mis makes me cry

  1. Pingback: because i have a blog and it is my duty to write a “year in review” post | stepping stones

  2. Pingback: upon my third viewing of Les Mis | stepping stones

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