Notes from Jan

Agony, Ecstasy and All That’s In-between

February 13, 2019

Never was a big fan of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. It’s too dark and scary for me, even though it’s not a bad idea to explore the consequences of our wishes through familiar fairy tales. I’m with C. S. Lewis who said, ” Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

I’m getting close.

Ever since I arrived, It’s rained, been unseasonably cold and Basil’s been practicing for his part in his elementary school production of Into the Woods. I was relieved to learn they were only doing the first half, having watched the whole musical on film. Meryl Streep gave me the heebie-jeebies as Rapunzel’s witchy “mother.”

Still a bit strange and humorous to hear my eight year old grandson singing, “Agony!”like he really meant it. Perhaps, he did. It’s not easy being a child. I was reminded of that truth as the whole cast sang the finale:

“Careful the things you say,

Children will listen.

Careful the things you do,

Children will see.

And learn.”

Went to two performances. Remarkable what children from 3rd to 5th grades can do with such an advanced theme, music and lyrics.

In the end we clapped with them as they sang, one more time,

“Into the woods-

You have to grope,

But that’s the way

you learn to cope.

Into the woods

To find there’s hope

Of getting through the journey.”

And that’s what grandchildren and young people do for most of us, feed hope and help us continue on the journey, even as they belt out, “Agony, far more painful than yours…” And isn’t that the temptation to think our agony has theirs beat.

Well, somewhere between the agony and ecstasy stretches the vast in-between, everyday life. One of our deepest wishes is to know these ordinary days and we matter. I suspect sometimes we can’t see the holiness for the trees.

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  • Reply Sharon Eaton February 13, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    As always such true & wise words!
    Thank you for all of your wonderful posts!
    They always remind me of what is important in God’s world….& that is tremendously helpful…& hopeful, too!
    Blessings & love,

  • Reply Dale February 13, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I am not sure I can grasp all of the literary analogies, but if you want to know if believe children feel pain, the answer is yes – much of caused by adults who achieve their happiness at the expense of children.

    Go Basil.

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