green with envy...

so i bet that you can guess today’s musical selection for marshall may musical mash up month (alliteration is key)...


i had read the book before we went to nyc and so had my friend jojo (the college girl that went with us for millie’s 10 trip.) but the wicked tickets were a birthday surprise for jojo (she had just had a birthday 2 days before millie’s.) this was before wicked was really popular (ha. those of you who know the musical just got that joke.) wicked was fairly new and still starring the original stars... kristin chenoweth and idina menzel. millie even met idina menzel after the show and idina sang happy birthday to her. yes, EARLY in the show’s run. before idina was a HUGE HIT. 

two years later when we went back to nyc for maxx’s 10 trip, he and adam went to see wicked. and maxx met the current actress playing elpheba. and took a photo. we didn’t go when rosie turned 10. in fact poor rosie has never seen wicked. i must remedy that soon. wicked is a GREAT musical for a teenage girl to see. all those songs about being popular. and what that leads to... 

one thing i loved about wicked was that it has a GREAT showstopper song right before the intermission. and i am not the only one who thinks so... tony sportiello wrote an article “anatomy of a musical show stopper: how wicked defines the perfect way to close your first act.” i love the way he takes you minute by minute through the showstopping song “defining gravity.” he pinned my every emotion hearing it the first time... (btw, in the clip from the tony awards idina menzel had just had a HUGE asthma attack minutes before she had to sing that showstopper. and she still sang 189,566,489 times better than i ever could.)

one thing i loved about wicked was that it followed a little musical principle that i wrote a paper on once in a class i took about musical theater (my dad said that i put the “liberal” in liberal arts with all the “classes” that i took in college.) i wrote about what i termed the “rolling stone principle” meaning “you can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” i cited several musicals where characters sing in act 1 about something they really really want. and then they receive that thing in act 2 but it is never what they thought it would be and now it is something that they don’t want... see camelot, west side story, my fair lady. and wicked. 

later i would see this same principle illustrated succinctly and creatively in donald miller’s classic book (and now a movie) blue like jazz. he wrote a little comic story that could be made into a musical with just a few well placed songs... let me give a SPOILER to don’s story. and our own story of everything we want that isn’t God...

don rabbit (insert lea rabbit or your name here rabbit) wants sexy carrot (insert to be a broadway star, mother of the year, a perfect marriage, perfect house, to be the perfect everything, or whatever it is you are wanting today.)

and he chases it everywhere. in every way. through everything. he tries really really really hard. devotes his whole life to the pursuit of sexy carrot and finally he catches sexy carrot.

and the moral of the story is that if you work hard, stay focused, and never give up, you will eventually get what you want in life.

unfortunately, shortly after this story was told, don rabbit choked on the carrot and died. 

so the second moral of the story is:

sometimes the things we want most in life are the things that will kill us.

i think glenda, elphaba, guinevere, arthur, maria, tony and several more of our broadway friends would agree... and they would sing about it. sing really really well. and we would all come back for the second act. to see their happy endings. to see them figure it out. to see them mature and grow and change and learn. 

i spent a lot of time last night reading over my blog from the past year. there we so many entries where i couldn’t even recall what was making me so emotional at the time. but i can clearly remember how God spoke to me in each moment. i don’t remember what i wanted. but i know that every time i was given what i needed... the grace and mercy to go into the next day with a strength that wasn’t my own. all i had to bring was my weakness, my concerns, my failures, my freaking outness... and EVERY time He sent me a Word, a comfort, a person with a story of hope on the other end of the phone (like this girl, this friend, this new mommy, this former neighbor, this broadway loving friend and dozens of other people that i can’t link to except with a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart.) 

what are you chasing today? because if you aren’t chasing God then what are you chasing? what do you think you MUST HAVE TO BE HAPPY? well, i hate to tell you (mostly i hate to tell myself) that what you/i are/am chasing... it is the wind (well actually it isn’t me telling you or me that... it is king solomon. the wisest and richest guy who ever lived. a guy who chased some sexy rabbits of his own. he did have 700 wives and 300 concubines. that is some quality sexy carrot chasing.) know that whatever you/i chase that isn’t God... you/i won’t catch it. or if you/i do, it will blow your/my skirt up and your/my panties will show to the world. He set this up. He sets us up for failure when we chase sexy carrot. because He wants the best for us. because He loves us too much to let us settle for sexy carrot. stupid sexy carrot. because He knows that in life or in musicals whatever you sing about in act 1 won’t be what you actually need in act 2.

i just wrote about failure in a letter that i wrote to a high school graduate who had faced some failure this year. here are a few of the pithy words that i sent to him...

“the thing I love about God is He intentionally guides people into failure.” {bob goff}

sometimes i love that about God. and yet some day i just want to keep singing about all the things that i WANT. i hope that my songs from act 2 are heard louder (and sung better) than my sillyl “i want” songs from act 1...