Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Have You Been Changed For Good?

Last night I accompanied a former piano student during her vocal recital. She sang ten pieces; three of which I accompanied. Four pieces were accompanied by a CD, and the last three were accompanied by her friend. The friend sang a duet with my former student --this was one of the pieces I accompanied. The song? For Good from the musical Wicked.
I have never seen Wicked. I hear it's a spectacular show --I've yet to hear from someone that disliked it. I read the book, however, and to be honest? I hated it. Not the storyline; not the premise that Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West) was, in fact, a good person; not the tension and imagination and different twist on an old story --it was the p*rn and the oversexed language. Filthy, really. And when one feels dirty and gross after reading or watching something, it's not a good sign, eh? Yeah, yeah. I know. I should have just not read it. I realize that now. And right when I finished the book. And every time I think about it.
I'm amazed at how different people describe the Musical in comparison with the book. I'm glad they cleaned up the story (you'd have to if you want the general public to like it). And the music? That I've heard? Astounding! I loved every moment listening to these girls sing (not to mention my joy in accompanying them). Schwartz is a genius of dissonance and syncopation, not to mention with beautiful lyrics. It's a long song, but the lyrics are pretty powerful, so humor me and read them:

I've heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn and we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return.
Now I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today because I knew you...
Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood...
Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But...
Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
It well may be that we will never meet again
In this lifetime, so let me say before we part:
So much of me is what I have learned from you.
You'll be with me, like a hand print on my heart.
Now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend...
Like a ship blown from it's mooring by a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a sky bird in a distant wood...
Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But...
Because I knew you...
Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good.
And just to clear the air I ask forgiveness for the things I've done you blame me for...
Well I guess we know there's blame to share...
And none of it seems to matter anymore!
Glinda and Elphaba (duet of words):
Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun, like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood/Like a ship blown off it's mooring by a wind off the sea, like a seed dropped by a sky bird in a distant wood...
Who can say...
If I've been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better,
And, because I knew you...
Because I knew you...
Because I knew you...
I have been changed...
For good.

For those who don't know the story, Glinda and Elphaba were actually friends/roommates in college, who then had a falling out. They meet again, years later, after all the bad feelings have escalated --and this is the song they sing to each other. I adore these lyrics! They remind me of all the friends/enemies/acquaintances/blogging buddies I have met over the years. It's amazing how one person can change our perspective just enough that it impacts the rest of our lives, whether for good or for bad. Here are just a few random examples of how one (or more) person has changed me "for good":
*One little boy, whose tears taught me at 5 years old that I should never assume. Never.
*One arrogant piano teacher who showed me (what Heavenly Father had been trying to show me for years) that I was not to be a Concert Pianist.
*One poverty-stricken, dirty, strange boy that seemed to still love life, even though he was treated harshly by his peers.
*One young mother, whose devastating dissension into a world of drug use caused her to lose her family, her friends, and eventually her life.
*One boyfriend who helped me see that pretending to be something I'm not isn't worth it.
*One car load of strangers who, after having asked my parents for money at a rest stop --and thanks to my father's generosity-- helped us with our flat tire on the Montana freeway.
*One roommate who, in her anger and jealousy, provided me with a way to show Christ-like compassion, and offered me the incredible surprise that I was willing to show that compassion without any anger or pain.
*One young man who, while reading poetry in a college class, gave me back my sense of self-worth.
*One blog post (or two) that changed the way I would forever view Mortality.

Who has changed you for good? How have you been changed? Was it for good? For bad?


Jolene said...

On the Wicked front:
*LOVE the music/musical.
*HATED the book - put it down after the first 25 or so pages.

Changed my life:
*this gentle reminder "You could have gone all day without saying that"
*really knowing what it feels like to lose myself in the Lord's work
*a Women's Conference talk on prayer
*most recently (Sunday) witnessing my oldest daughters receive their patriarchal blessings.

Kelly A. said...

had the wicked soundtrack, LOVED. Read the book, HATED! Now can't listen to the soundtrack without feeling gross. Never met anyone who didn't love the musical, think I'll have to give it a try.

My husband prompted me to change my life. I was a stupid little girl making stupid mistakes and he saw more, so I did too.

Ryan and Missy- said...

You MUST see the musical. We've seen it twice and are trying to go again before it leaves LA. AND, of all the music in the show, that song is my favorite.

I've had a few friends come to mind while listening to the song, but one in particular. He really helped me come out of my shell when I was the new/shy girl. We both helped each other through some rough times, and though we had our disagreements, I know that because of him, 'I have been changed for good'. I played the song for him once and he cried...that's how well it described our friendship.

Never A True Aggie said...

Loved the musical, hated the book. Looks like we have a running theme. I am so glad the musical is so much better so I can share it with my daughter when she gets older. Who has changed my life:
* My roommate at Ricks who died the summer after I met her.
* My friend who struggled through a possible divorce and rescued it through prayer, perseverance and forgiveness.
That's all I can think of right now, but I am sure there is more.

Desi said...

I have the soundtrack on my computer and had to play that song while I was reading this post :)

I absolutely loved the musical and we are thinking of taking our 9 year old when we go to LA in two weeks.

I haven't read the book because I've heard all the negative and so I am content with just loving the musical.

There have been plenty of people in my life who have changed me for good, some for the better and some for the worse unfortunately.

Cardalls said...

Never actually heard the music, read the book or anything. But have heard rave reviews from everyone and maybe that's why I haven't pursued it, I don't tend to love things that are so hyped up.

I have been changed by:
*my dear sweet friend since we were in diapers, a mom of 3, who has a debilitating illness that has put her in a wheelchair. as if that weren't enough, her husband was killed in a motorcylce accident 3 years ago. yet she remains positive, humorous and uplifting. i never can say i have it too hard.

*a dear friend heard i had passed on gossip about her (i thought it was simply information) and was hurt deeply. i vowed i would never get caught in the gossip web again.

*an old boyfriend who made me realize through a lot of hurtful things that i deserved better than he was giving me and through that i found my sweet husband

Susan M said...

I thought about seeing the musical until I found out it cost $85.

I don't have the mental energy right now to think of life-changing people. But they're out there.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who has ever inspired me to be better than I am, and there are too many of those to number.

April J. said...

I saw the play first then read the book I had to put it down it was horrible and I too felt yucky! There is no sex in the Musical There is a subtle hint about a drunken one night stand but it lasts about 10seconds, and if you didn't read the book you would never think of it that way. The music is phenomenal! It is coming to San Fran early next year, maybe you'll have to make a trip!

Richelle said...

I have to say that I LOVED the musical! My husband read the book and said it wasn't even really like the musical.
The music is great. We had to get the CD! :)

Courtney N said...

Seriously I love this song. I went and saw the musical in LA and when they sang this song I totally cried! It is so powerful! There are so many people in my life that have changed it for good... I love those people and I hope that I have changed them for good too. Thats really what true friendship is. You both take from it... hopefully its something good : )

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Who has changed me:
-My primary teacher the year I got baptized, by showing genuine interest and concern for me (good)
-My second grade teacher, for the same reasons (good)
-My former step-mother...let's not go there (bad)
-My dad's brother & sister, who are both Downs Syndrome, and taught me what being truly loved feels like, and to not judge others based on their abilities (good)
-My 8th grade English teacher, who ignited my love of writing (good)
-My jr. high history/geography teacher, whose enthusiasm for these subjects lead me to my current major & minor in college (good)
-My half-brother and half-sister, along with my step-dad, who showed me that sometimes love can make a blended family into just a FAMILY. (good)
-My first boyfriend, let's not go there either (bad)
-My high school best friend, who became like a real sister to me, including the fighting :) (good and a little bad)
-The Baptist kids I hung out with in high school, who taught me what it means to live one's religion (good)
-My bipolar brother, who's struggles have broken my heart (good and bad)
-My daughter, who calls a different woman Mommy...for saving me from a life away from the gospel. (good)
-My husband, who showed me that love and lust are NOT the same thing.
-The author of a book on adoption, who gave me the courage to announce that I had placed my daughter for adoption (good)
-My kids, the Wild Boys, who have changed me in so many ways (good)
-Cheryl, the first stranger I became better friends with then most of the people I know in real life (Good!)

Julie P said...

Loved this post. Have to say my boys LOVE the soundtrack, but I've not read the book (on purpose) nor seen the musical - yet. Anyway, I want to think about this post more today...thank you for sharing it.

Summer said...

Yeah, I made it through all of two chapters in that book before I was to disgusted to read anymore.

My best friend Michelle came into my life at age 14, and I'm so much better for it than I think I would have been otherwise.

sandra said...

I really want to see this musical. I have heard a lot of songs from it through Brittanys school musicals. i was thinking about reading the book, but judging from the comments I guess that would probably not be a great idea