“You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that.
Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw -- but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported.
Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of -- something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side?
Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it -- tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.
But if it should really become manifest -- if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself -- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say "Here at last is the thing I was made for". We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.”
the above photo was taken at my ladies Bible study on wednesday morning. it was the last time we would meet this school year. i took the photo because it was the potluck salad lunch day and i didn’t have time to put together a salad. so i brought my camera and told them i had better talents than salad making. and they laughed and would have let me stayed and eaten even without my camera. they love me. they inspire me. they accept me. and i love them. we may differ in ages and stages of life. but i recognize the secret thread that c.s. lewis talked about in each one of them. they all have great stories. hidden under those sweet baptist smiles (well, one of them is sporting a sweet catholic smile) are some incredible stories of strength that has only come through Christ. one of them (the one who is the hostess for our Bible study. we are standing on her front steps) came SO close to death one year ago that i doubted that i would ever walk joyfully up those beautiful front steps again...
i think musicals are like that for me. all connected with a secret thread. a hint of something beyond. a hint of a land where stories and songs collide together in some kind of beautiful meaningful utterly delightful way. i caught my first glimpse of this the first time i saw a musical... it was the musical brigadoon. a lerner and loewe early musical from the late 1940‘s. they would get better in time producing one of the GREATEST musicals ever: camelot. but brigadoon isn’t really their “best” work. but it was the one that started this all for me (and i guess you too since you are reading this.) i don’t even know where i saw it. maybe the tallahassee little theater. or at fsu. it was a fairly good production on a large stage (or at least it seemed large to a girl in elementary school.)
here is the synopsis from wickipedia... “The story involves two American tourists who stumble upon Brigadoon, a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years. Tommy, one of the tourists, falls in love with Fiona, a young woman from Brigadoon.”
the ending is the best part. SPOILER AHEAD... tommy decides not to stay in brigadoon (he isn’t sure it is really real. the town or his love for fiona) and leaves and the window of time magic closes. he regrets this through several songs. goes back to the forest four months later but of course the town won’t be there for 99.6 years. he has a great line here, “why do people have to lose things to find out what they really mean?”
i loved the story. i loved the cheesy songs (only years and many musicals later would i realize they were a bit cheesy.) i loved the experience of LIVE theater. my parents must have sensed how much i enjoyed the play. they enrolled me in a brand new little drama afterschool club soon after. now that little after school club is now an award winning children’s theater company. but when i joined it was the first year and we met in the teacher’s condo. i discovered through all those great drama lessons that i was a triple threat... i couldn’t act. i couldn’t sing. i couldn’t dance. but i also discovered a secret thread. i loved plays. i loved musicals. i loved the stage. from both sides. being on the stage (which i wasn’t good at) and i loved being in the audience (i was very good at that.) which i why God and i have that little agreement that i get to star in plays in heaven. it seems a bit “unfair” (like i can even use that word to describe anything about God is blasphemous) of Him to make me love musicals so much and not to be able to be in them. so i am just certain that He intends for those desires to come to their ultimate fulfillment in heaven. and if not, well i have His word on it that i will still be perfectly happy without being in musicals. i trust Him for that. but i hope the musicals part really occurs. and i bet some of you do too...
c.s. lewis would say that it is a part of the secret thread of things that make me who i am. i would bet that on my deathbed that i would smile when you played “one more day” from les miserables. much like this guy in a nursing home.
the secret thread that will one day unravel itself as leads me to SomeOne holding the skien of golden string. and it all started with a musical about a mythical magical town that appears only once every hundred years. i am just glad that i was there when it appeared... the echoes have appeared again and again in the shows that i have seen and i have no doubt that one day the echoes will stop being echoes and will become the thing finally realized that i saw glimpses of over and over again. through a glass darkly...
1 corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass darkly; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.