Thursday, May 17, 2012

Memphis As Metaphor

Ceiling of the Shubert Theater

My parents were in town last weekend - a fun visit involving the requisite city activities: dinners out, a trip to a museum, a walk in Central Park, and a Broadway show.

We caught a matinee of Memphis, which was good and made me want to sign up for a dance class and buy dresses with crinolines, ASAP.  Memphis tells the story of a 1950's DJ - a white man living in the segregated South - who works to get "race music" it's due play-time on mainstream radio stations.  There are some great blues, rock and gospel tunes throughout the show and, as the plot progresses, we see this very music build a bridge between the divided races while simultaneously tearing down the walls that stood between them.  A little romance and a few group dance scenes also do their part to ease racial tension.

Over-simplified and a little hokey?  Sure.  But it's Broadway.  Don't tell me you don't love it.

And I'll admit to getting a little emotional at certain points during the show - like when those crazy teenagers met on common ground to sing the same song.  It may have been overly sentimental, but the underlying sentiment was still beautiful enough to bring a few tears to my eyes.  (Just a few - you know - in a classy, restrained sort of way.)

* * *

A few days later, after my parents headed home and I headed back to my beige cubicle, I came across these words somewhere's on the internet:
"Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next."
-Frederick Buechner
What do you think about that?

I think (if you wanna know) that ol' Buech might have something there.  And I wonder if those tears I fought in the Shubert Theater weren't just a natural product of a mushy musical, but maybe also pointed to a more innate, deep-seated interest.  Reconciliation - even a fictionalized version played out on stage - is a beautiful thing.  The promise and realization of it makes me cry, and maybe that's something to remember, something to take as a summons, as I sort through the mystery of lech lecha and search out what's next.


Sonja said...


Rosanne said...

Yes,tears flow when God's hand touches our deepest soul because we are made in His image and that image is seated at His right hand......"Jesus wept.