So lately I have been watching Dreamgirls (the movie made from the original Tony award winning Broadway show). I have watched it over and over again. The music continues to ring in my head. When I don't have the energy to sit through the whole movie, I'll often skip through to just the musical scenes.
Now this is odd for me. I don't watch nearly any movie more than one time. I mean for me, movies are all about the journey through a story and the development of the characters. And once that journey has been taken, there really is no going back. The ability to see what is coming next ruins the movie experience for me. So I have been wondering what has been drawing me back to this film so often lately.
So today, I watched it again. Then with Molly, I skipped to a couple of the songs that really impact me. And I realized what has been keeping me going back. First, the music is terrific AND MOVING. It is easy to connect to the emotional content of the songs and thereby connect with the stories of the characters. And that is the hook. I have connected to the characters in a way that offers affinity to my own experiences.
The movie unfolds the dreams of 3 singers who manage to get a big break and eventually make it big in the music business of the late 60s. (It's an obvious homage to the Supremes.) But in their story, the lead characters in different ways find their individual dreams corrupted and/or destroyed in some way by their own blindness to the perils of the music industry. The movie ends with a reunion amongst all the lead characters (minus one who dies along the journey) and a resolution to the plot. The resolution is to learn to live with integrity to both real life and your dream.
So I think I know why I have been watching over and over again. And I hope by working it out in this post, I can escape the compulsion to watch it again. I think I have watching the movie in order to figure out where each of the characters went wrong. Where they made the mistake that took them down that path that stole their dream from them. Which feeling deceived them? What lie did they believe? How did they make themselves vulnerable to the selfish motives of the characters who surround them? What was going on inside of them that they could have changed in order to have avoided the pain of losing their dream.
I think what has drawn me to this dilemma is a recent season of God's moving Spirit, changing things in my own life. Correcting my course. Retraining my mind. Molding my passions. This transition has been tough to walk through. And the very human part of me wants to escape some of the effects of this change. And in fact trying to avoid the struggle of changing has created painful effects.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
These verses compels me to accept God's navigation of my life's journey with continued hope and constant willingness. It's God's dream I wish to chase instead of my own. My story goes dreadfully wrong when I chase the wrong dream.
And back to musical theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber was quite wrong in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dream coat. "Any dream" will not do. Only God's dream will do!
First I keep thinking that the whole selection of Saul is very odd. I mean, I'm so used to thinking about the way David was selected by God directing Samuel directly to him. And then there's the story of Saul, where God doesn't really want there to be a king and so He just tells Samuel to "give them what they want." So Samuel goes out to pick one for them. Samuel goes on this road trip until he runs into this guy that looks the part and that's who he picks. The story of Saul seems to follow the pattern of the book of Judges to me. It's in the way that the people of Israel stray from God's plan, it backfires, then God brings David into the story to both deliver them and point out their sin.
Second, how did Solomon get to ascend to the throne? Why didn't a prophet have to choose the next king? I mean it really is the mortal pattern of things instead of the spiritual pattern of things.
Third, I think the book of Judges and the story of Saul is an early example of how hard it is for God's people to live by His Spirit. I mean here the Holy Spirit is living in me and I still do so many things by the human pattern instead of by the fresh leading of God's Spirit. The truth is I like to figure things out on my own. I like the way my own ideas sound. I love the feeling of success, when it's my own idea. I think pretty highly of myself. DANG!!!
But the kicker.... I'm just too busy or too lazy to do the work of seeking God in all of my situations. I like doing my morning prayer and just moving on, instead of staying in an on-going conversation with God in which I take the role of apprentice following the step by step instructions of my Master.
I'm such an idiot! Really! When I do keep that open conversation going and really cultivate my sense of God's leading in all the moments of my days, I experience so much more of 'life in all of its fullness.' I make such stupid trade offs sometimes.
Fourth, can I be like David? Can my heart be after God and God alone, with no pretenders to the throne of my life? Can I come to God humbly with my failures and mourn over my offenses to God like David? Can I worship with abandon like David? Can I show the kind of character that David showed when God had promised him the throne and having 3 chances to kill Saul, David resisted...?
What is my hierarchy? That is, what comes first in my life? I have some rearranging to do in order to really keep God first.