"Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man."—Victor Hugo
Les Miserables—The Miserable Ones
In grade eight, I inhaled the unabridged version of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables—over 1200 pages. I concealed the thick book under my desk at school and read during class. At night, I hid a light under my bed, so I could continue reading until dawn. It was my first page turner. Scenes, characters and life lessons in that book were forever ingrained into my memory.
When Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit Broadway show, Les Miserables, opened at The Pantages Theatre in LA, nothing could keep me from seeing my favorite book—ever—in musical form by my favorite musical composer. A friend secured the tickets and off I went with as the fifth wheel with two couples. My husband did not accompany me to the theatre, because it was shortly after my fifteenth wedding anniversary, when I discovered letters from my husband's mistress. My husband no longer had any interest in a relationship with me.
As Fantine belted out the heartbreaking ballad about unfulfilled dreams's, the Pantages' incredible sound system made it possible for my heart to feel every word of I Dreamed a Dream.
I sobbed. I related to every word.
Like Fantine, I was left alone, a single mother, unemployed, and feeling emotionally destitute.
The first verse reminded me of a time when my husband was kind and our love exciting. Adultery changed my husband. His words, his actions, and his attitudes towards me? Cruel. Heartless. I Dreamed a Dream represented all the pain I felt, the reconciliation that my heart desired, and the reality of my shame. Fantine's soulful song embodied my dreams.
I Dreamed a Dream
There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Hope Is the Word
I felt miserable. I lay my miserables on God's shoulders. Victor Hugo wrote, "A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing." God's Word kept my faith intact. I believed—
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.—Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.' — Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NASB)
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.—Joel 2:25 (NKJV)
How Do You Reclaim Your Hope, Your Dreams, Your Life, Yourself?
The other night a friend and I talked. What happened to our dreams, our callings?
We talked about reclaiming the passion that God put in our hearts.
After our phone conversation concluded, I received an email message entitled "Nothing Is Impossible. Frumpy Lady Wins British Talent Show." I clicked on the link and the story about Susan Boyle who sang I Dreamed a Dream. As Susan sang this song about a single mother, down on her luck, whose years of misfortune stole both her youth and her dreams, she brought the audience to tears and prompted a standing ovation from the audience and my heart.
The Song that Once Embodied my Pain, Now Offered Me Encouragement and Hope
And…as I listened, my friend opened an email and clicked on the link.
Yep! God's timing was perfect. The song that once symbolized the death of my marriage, now breathes life and hope into my today, my future, my calling, my dreams.
The vision God placed in my heart long ago refuses to stay dammed by shame. My hopes, dreams, and calling are breaking through the crack in that miserable dam.
I'm in start over mode.
What tattered dreams have you buried under the hurt, hecticness, and hardship of your solo-parent life?