Thursday, December 13, 2012

who am i?

one of my favorite, if not my number one favorite, musicals is les miserables.  it has everything one could possibly want - action, adventure, romance, tragedy, comedy.  It has it all.  i guess it's hard to go wrong when one starts with a story as well written as les miserables.  although there have been some adaptations of fabulous stories that i could have done without.  but i digress...

because i love the music and i love singing in the car, i keep the cd of les miserables in the car.  whenever i listen to it, i turn it way way up and then sing at the top of my lungs to all the songs.  i sometimes even sing all the parts.  and when i'm stopped at a stop light, i flail my arms around and direct myself, the orchestra and all the other singers.  it's quite the sight, i'm sure!  so this morning, on my way to work, i was singing and flailing to this song that jean valjean sings called "who am i."  the policeman, javert, has seen a man he believes to be jean valjean and valjean realizes that he could finally be free from his past if this man is assumed to be him.  but, he also knows that he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he let this innocent man take his place.  and so, since it is, after all a musical, valjean sings (this is an abridged version)...

who am i?
can i condemn this man to slavery
pretend i do not feel his agony
this innocent who bears my face
who goes to judgement in my place
who am i?
can i conceal myself for evermore?
pretend i'm not the man i was before?
and must my name until i die
be no more than an alibi?
must i lie?
how can i ever face my fellow men?
how can i ever face myself again?
my soul belongs to god, i know
i made that bargain long ago
he gave me hope when hope was gone
he gave me strength to journey on
who am i? who am i?
i am jean valjean!
i love this song!!!!!  i love that valjean keeps asking himself "who am i?"  i love that he struggles to figure out what his identity is in the face of this huge, life-changing decision he must make.  he knows that his answer to this question of who he is will determine not just his earthly fate, but quite possibly his eternal fate as well.  jean valjean ends up choosing to do the right thing.  his answer to the question ends up to be quite simple, really.  he is god's.  and so the choice is made.  

jean valjean asks himself who he is when confronted with a major decision.  but i think it's a question that is just as applicable to the little things as well.  how much would my attitude each day change if, before i got annoyed at that person who cut me off in traffic, i stopped and asked, "who am i?"  how much would my marriage change if, before i got frustrated at my husband for something stupid, i stopped and asked, "who am i?"  how much better would the world be if we all took the time to ask that one simple question before we acted - "who am i?" 

who am i?  i am a wife, a pet mom, a friend, a librarian, a crafter...but most importantly, i am myra hall richards and i am god's.  and that is the answer that should color every choice i make. 

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