Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So Much of Me Is Made of What I've Learned From You...Friendship in Wicked

Well, I saw Wicked.

And it was every bit as amazing as I had anticipated. It was so awesome, I'm going to see it again next week. :)

Review coming (and if you didn't rolled your eyes at how many times I've said this and haven't delivered, you're a saint)...but for now I'm elaborating on the point that stuck out to me while viewing this.

Wicked was all about two things. The first was standing alone for what was right. It was what attracted me to the musical in the first place during a time when I identified with Elphaba's struggle, being villainized when she was just trying to do the right thing. It's what has made it one of my favorites as I've seen this happen to people I love over and over again. The line in "Defying Gravity" was the echo of my heart over and over again in the past few years - "Too long I've been afraid of losing love I guess I've lost...well, if that's love, it comes at much too high a cost!"

I love Elphaba because of it. I love her spirit and her maverick streak. I love her stand for what's right, her disregard for tradition "'cuz someone says they're so", and the way she is such a commotion.

But that doesn't mean that standing alone doesn't hurt. And that is the other theme, that just because love can come at much too high a cost, just because flying free is worth flying solo, it doesn't mean that losing those people doesn't hurt. It's realistic. And no matter whether or not a friendship has a happy ending, it stays with you forever.

Elphaba and Galinda's friendship is the crux of the story and frankly, the most important part of it. Elphaba has her romance with Fiyero and her own journey to go through, but it's the impact that her friendship has on her life and the impact she has on Galinda that is the focus of the story.

And I get that, too. Because I've had friendships like that.

I've had friendships blossom out of the funniest places. I've had friends who were the polar opposite of who I was. I've had those friends who were the closest people in my life, people that I never dreamed would ever *not* be my closest friends.

And then life happened. Some friends moved on to different seasons. Some just lost touch. And yes, some were painful separations over doctrine or misunderstandings or just the most stupid things - and some were even from making the right choices and standing alone. And it does hurt. It does hurt waking up one day and realizing that you don't even know them anymore. To look back over the days when you were so close and try to figure out exactly what happened. To try and find somewhere to lay the blame. To wonder how you could have ever trusted them, or believe that they ever really cared about you.

But that's not the answer. Glinda and Elphaba go from being best friends to at-your-throat enemies, and it's almost painful to see how this friendship has changed, and how much they're each hurting. But towards the end of the last act, when Elphaba is facing her death and asking Glinda to take her place, the friends finally wake up and realize just what this friendship has meant to them, no matter if it didn't play out the way they thought. The gorgeous song "For Good" so perfectly captures the emotions of everyone who has ever had someone close in their life, who can look back, look past all the hurt and see how much of an impact that person had on their life. I'm not going to lie, I tear up every stinkin' time I hear this song, because it really is how I feel about the friendships in my life.

I've heard it said that people come into our lives
For a reason, bringing something we must learn.
And we are lead to those who help us most to grow
If we let them, and we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true,
But I know I'm who I am today because I knew you.

The person I am today is shaped in a huge part by the people I have been honored to call my friends. The people who stood by me, laughed with me, cried with me, and who played a part in creating me. We may not all see eye-to-eye anymore...or even speak to each other now. But if it weren't for the circumstances I have been through with them, I might not be me. For that, I am so thankful. 

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 made of what I've learned from you,
You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend.

And basically, I wouldn't trade those friendships for anything. I wouldn't trade all those wonderful memories, the laughs and the tears and the inside jokes, for any pain that those friendships might have brought. The fact is, underneath the hurt, I still deeply care about each and every one of them. Underneath everything, Elphaba and Glinda still loved each other. They were able to reconcile at last, despite their differences and the past. Unfortunately that won't always be the case for friendships. But you can still reconcile the past with yourself. You can acknowledge that you have been "changed for the better" by the friends you've known. My friendships in the past, both those who have lasted and those that haven't, have taught me so much. Most of all, they've taught me how to love. They've taught me to be unconditionally loving to others, just like I want them to be to me. They've taught me to feel. And I'm so grateful for that. 

So if you have friends in your life you're grateful for, let them know. If you've lost friendships to misunderstandings or seasons in life or even for standing alone, allow yourself to look past the hurt and acknowledge the positive impact they've had on your life. And to all of my friends, those who are in my life and those who have been, thank you for your friendship. I love you, and no matter how our stories end, I will always love you. I couldn't possibly sum it up better than Elphie and Glinda did themselves...

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,
I have been changed for good.


Emmy Hornburg said...

Ah! I'm so glad you finally saw Wicked and loved it!!!!! Such a good show and reading this made me all teary eyes.

Miss Jane Bennet said...

*Sniffle* This was SUCH a gorgeous true. I was tearing up a lot by the end. In fact, I'm nominating it for I'd Like To Share ( Thanks so much for this post- I needed that. :)