How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
We were dressed all wrong in our best blue jeans and Sunday tops—two people clothed in love amidst crisp dinner jackets and sequined gowns that glittered in the dim light of the theater. I slunk down in my seat next to a younger woman in a blue pin-striped dress—we did not come to be seen, only to see.
But as I sunk into my seat she looked up. She saw me. And she smiled.
Just then, a little girl—maybe seven or eight—sat down in the seat on the other side of her, followed by two or three generations of women. The woman in the blue pin-stripes exclaimed over the girl’s pink-ribboned dress.
“Oh, you look so beautiful,” she said. And to the girl’s mother: “Has she seen the show before?”
“No,” the other woman smiled. “This is her first time.”
The woman next to me leaned down closer to the little girl.
“Oh, you are going to love it! This is the very first musical I saw when I was little and you know what? It’s still my favorite.”
The conversation quieted as the lights dimmed and I leaned into my husband as song soared. Soon we were caught up in story—lifted with each lilting note of music. When time for intermission came, my husband made a beeline for the restroom, but I stayed put under the twinkling lights. When I stood to stretch my legs, the woman in blue pin-stripes caught my eye.
“I can’t believe it’s only nine-thirty,” she said, smiling. “It feels like midnight!”
I smiled back and sat back down beside her.
“I know, I know. They say this is a sign of my rapidly advancing age—the way the night comes so quickly.”
She dimpled again.
“No, not at all! They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
“I think you’re right. There’s just something about the dimming of the lights and good story that just relaxes the soul.”
“A good story,” she mused. “Only Victor Hugo.”
“I heard you tell that little girl that this was the first musical you ever saw…that it’s still your favorite.”
“This is my Mother’s Day present to myself,” she said. “I’m a single mom. So on Mother’s Day I didn’t get to do anything special. So when I heard Les Mis was in town, I thought, I’m going! My favorite dress,” she gestured to the pin-stripes. “And my favorite musical. It doesn’t get much better.”
I told her that we were celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary, that Jeff wasn’t wild about coming but I was—and he wanted to be together. We talked about the different versions of the show we had seen. Jeff returned and she leaned across me to touch his arm.
“You are a good husband,” she said. Then she settled back into her seat. “My favorite song is next.”
“What’s your favorite?” I asked.
She looked at me as if I should already know the answer.
“On My Own,” she whispered. And the lights dimmed again for the second act.
The rest of the show went quickly and I was aware of the joy sitting next to me. Before we left the theater I squeezed her hand.
“Enjoy the rest of your night out,” I said.
“I will,” she replied. “And happy anniversary.”
I’m still thinking about how a song can name us; how art makes us feel not so alone in this world. How an open eye for beauty can open the hearts around you.
And it makes me want to bring more beauty into life—to spill it out all over everyone I touch. And I can’t help thinking how love does this—clothes everything in beauty.
And I promise to love better. To see better.
Because, as Jean Valjean says, “…to love another person is to see the face of God.”
Over at the High Calling we are on week three of a book discussion on The Life of the Body: Physical Well-being and Spiritual Formation by Valerie E. Hess and Lane M. Arnold. Will you join us? Today we’re giving away two copies of the book. It’s a great book about how the choices we make for our bodies impact our spiritual life.
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