Is Life an Adventure?

What does adventure mean to you?  An adventure can represent life as a whole. Life is an adventure because you never know where it can lead you. The adventure of life is quite mysterious, but quite rewarding. Life is precious and we cannot waste it. We need to live life to the fullest and make sure we make the most of the short time that we have. Life can lead to the unexpected. Sometimes it is hard to deal with the unexpected, but sometimes they are a wonderful time to shape you as a person. Life is something to be patient with especially during difficult times. I feel as if difficult times are a time to test your faith and can be used to strengthen you as a person. It is about discovering who you are are as a person. My life has led me to many wonderful things such as Gardner Webb, Costa Rica, Alaska, England, and Winterlight (high school youth conference).

Adventure!

Bring Him Home

Today is Memorial Day, the day where we remember the fallen soldiers who have served. Every Memorial Day, I always listen to the song “Bring Him Home”. The song is from the musical, “Les Mis”, which occurs at the barricades. The song is basically a beautiful prayer that Valjean sings to protect and save Marius, whom his adopted daughter, Cosette, loves. Even though the uprising consists only of students, they still fight for what they believe in no matter what. That is what those in the military do because they fight for what they believe in even if they know there is a chance they will be killed in battle. The students in “Les Mis” know that there is a high chance they are going to die and even though they felt hopeless at the time of the final battle, they still fight because they are so passionate about their cause.

Happy Memorial Day!

 

Believe in Yourself

I am a person who does not try to fit in with everyone else because I truly believe in being who I am. There is nothing wrong with being different then someone else because we are all different. Everyone has their different personality traits, interests, and memories. That is what makes the world unique because no one is the same. The world would be boring if everyone was exactly the same. Believing in yourself means doing things outside of your comfort zone. It means when things are tough, keep a positive attitude and have faith that things will get better. Believing in myself allows me to be the person I am meant to be and  am able to show my true colors.

Staying true to yourself is not difficult as others say. It is very easy for me because I do not believe in someone I am not. For me, I continue to develop my love for musicals and Christian music and let those interests strengthen. I try my hardest to stay true to my love of learning. I keep my positive attitude, optimism, spirituality, and my other strengths inside of me. Sometimes I dislike my weaknesses, but then I realize that some of my strengths come from some of my weaknesses. Our weaknesses allow us to grow and help us become who we are meant to be. They are not things to be ashamed of because they are only a piece of who we are. There are days when it is harder to be who I am then others, but I manage to pull through by using my strengths. I stay true to my biggest passions to the best of my ability, which are theatre (particularly musicals) and volunteering. In high school, I developed my passion for volunteering. Some of my experiences I had allowed me to have that passion such as awareness events and outreach weekends. The moment I found out that the vast majority of the world is living in poverty, I realized that I am meant to give back to that community.

As for musicals, it seems like I have a bigger passion for them then volunteering, but my passion for volunteering is just as big. It is just that I talk and think more about musicals. Staying true to my love for musicals requires vulnerability, innocence, patience and maturity due to the many elements that are a part of them. They have many comic and tragic elements, different kinds of characters, various topics, and overall a lot of emotions. Those emotions can be quite confusing at times because some are much more layered then others and each musical has a different emotional nature. The musical emotions are connected through the main emotions of joy, love, and excitement because they are the thread that ties them together and what allows the positive and negative emotions to be the best they can be. Musicals have changed a lot over the years, but the one thing that has never changed is that they have never lost their spirit and are still part of the same universe. This is an incredible passion because you can learn so much about who you are as a person and can help you learn more about society. They can teach you empathy and patience especially when big changes happen. Ever since two sad musicals became a meaningful part of my life, I had to change my thinking on musicals. They allowed me to start thinking outside of the box and see how they connect to the happy musicals. This passion just seems to require more then my passion for volunteering.

What Does Progress Look Like?

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This idea is what happens all throughout life. Progress always help you put a foot in the door. Think of it as climbing a really steep mountain, but as you get closer you stumble and you have to get back up, and progress can be simple as getting back up and start hiking again to reach the top. That is what life looks like at times and can be quite messy. You always are making progress as you get closer to your goals and then you might stumble here and there,which could make you drift further and further away from your dream or goal. Progress can easily be the little steps it takes to get to the goal. For me, progress happens after I finish each and every semester of college, which led me closer to my goal of graduating from college. I even had progress from getting a summer job. I am tried summer after summer after summer with no luck and some interviews. But today, I advanced some more into finding a summer job. I had an interview today at AppleBee’s and this was the first time I made it through my first round of interviews. After the first interview, I was asked to go to a second interview later the same day. I was quite surprised because I have never been asked for a second one, but it makes the possibility of getting a job closer. It gave me more motivation that I will eventually find one this summer. That was progress for me because at least I made it a step further then I usually do.

Getting a summer job will be the first step in heading towards my dream job. I am hoping that getting a summer job will unlock other jobs. I want to eventually build my way to nonprofit to help those living in poverty and homelessness. That is where I want to end up, but I will not get there unless I can find a job. My ultimate goal is to somehow combine my biggest passions of theatre and service into one, which will be harder then it looks.

So the thing is, do not give up on your dreams. Stay motivated and before you know it, you will have made progress. Progress can be quite small or can be quite big. Some dreams of mine have already come true, but am still able to come up with new ones. Progress can be fragile especially when you reach a stumble and you have to somehow get back up and continue that progress. Those moments hurt when you stumble especially when it is a big stumble, which makes it even harder to fulfill your dreams. Progress can something as simple as gaining a new skill. Progress is one of the keys to life and can help you live life to the fullest down. I know sometimes life may not be the way you want it to be, but once again keep your eye on the main goals. Progress helps build character. Breaking up your main dream into steps makes life so much easier. It allows you to know if you are headed in the right direction or not.

Living a Dream

Dreams are special when they come true. As each dream gets accomplished, life becomes more and meaningful. Dreams can range in many different forms and can be more than originally excepted. Finally making it to Gardner Webb was more than excepted because I am living the dream each and every day. Gardner Webb was more than I thought because it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Being there has taught me independence, leadership skills, and going outside my comfort zone. It has helped develop me emotionally and spiritually. Gardner Webb feels like home to me because I feel like it is where God wants me to be. Sometimes school gets tough, but what keeps me going is my trust in the Lord and my positive attitude. I still have ways to go before I graduate college, but I am noticing that as each semester goes by, the more and more meaningful my college experience gets.

Another dream that came true was seeing “Les Mis” in London. That happened last year when my church choir was in residence at Bristol Cathedral. My family went up early and my mom took me to see “Les Mis”. I was already a massive fan of the musical before, but had never seen the stage show professionally. At that point, I had seen the movie multiple times, the 25th anniversary concert a couple of times, and the stage show three times. I already knew the stage show front to back and a lot about the songs and characters. It was my dream to see it in London because it was where the show started and was the only “original” staging. There is something special about seeing a show in the place where it started. I was lucky to see it in 2015 because the show was in the middle of its 30th year.

My mom and I were nine rows back from the stage and were perfect seats because it felt like you were part of the action and never once blocked the view of the barricade.

I was very impressed with the brilliant talent of all the principal characters and ensemble. The rotating stage worked effectively and was very impressive at the barricades. I went past my comfort zone by going to the stage door and I had my picture taken with Valjean and he also signed my playbill.

So live your dreams and keep them safe. When they do happen, make sure to hold onto the memories that you had. Dreams are what makes life matter. They help develop your interests to a level you never imagined. Continue to come up with new dreams once one is accomplished.

One of my next dreams is something that is way out in the future, but I hope to start a theatre for the homeless and poverty population. It will take on step at a time. It is a dream to finish college and eventually move my way into nonprofit. God called me into nonprofit for a reason and I had known since high school that I was called to help the homeless. I have this deep connection to that community and I know that I want to change the world. So far, none of my dreams have failed to happen and if they seem impossible, just keep on going forward and stay positive that someday they will come true.

Dream

Is there symbolism in the Les Mis deaths?

Major Spoilers:

This is an idea I have been thinking about for a couple of months now. Even though I had known for more than one year that all of the characters are with someone when they die except for one. I now sort of wonder why that just happens to be and if there is there some significance behind that. It might have something to do with the nature of the characters. But I am still trying to figure out that answer. I know that with some of the characters who are not alone, they just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

Fantine, Eponine, Gavroche, Enjorlas and the students, and Valjean are the characters who are not alone at the time of their deaths. Fantine is with Valjean, Eponine is with Marius, Gavroche and the students are with each other, and Valjean is with Cosette and Marius. The main thing in common with these characters is that they all have the ability to show some kind of love, compassion, or forgiveness.

Fantine acted like a real mother because she showed unconditional love towards her daughter. She was abandoned by her lover and left to care for Cosette and having an illegitimate child was a bad situation to be in. She innocently handed her child off to the Thenardiers and they required a weekly sum. Coincidentally she ended up working at Valjean’s factory and one day it was discovered that she had an illegitimate child and was fired by the foreman because of it. Having no where to turn to, she had to turn to prostitution to provide for her child. She died for the sake of her child and was happy when she died because Valjean promised to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. Fantine trusted Valjean and knew the her daughter was going to be well looked after.

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Eponine was quite a surprise because her parents were the Thenardiers. For some reason, Eponine somehow developed a moral backbone especially because her parents were criminals. She was able to see the good in Marius and that is why she fell in love with him. He was the only light in her terrible life of abuse and extreme poverty, even though the love she had for him was unrequited.  Even though she was aware that Marius did not return her feelings, she cared more about his happiness then her own. She put her life at risk multiple times to help him. She agreed to help him find Cosette and prevented her father’s gang from robbing Valjean’s house to protect both Cosette and Marius. Because she wanted to be with Marius, she disguised herself as a boy to be at the barricades, but Marius noticed her and sent her away to deliver a letter to Cosette and she once again agreed. On the way back, she was unaware that she was about to get shot, but when she got fatally shot while climbing the barricades, she still climbed over to be with Marius. At first, she tried to cover up her injury because she did not want to scare him, but he found out after she collapsed in his arms, which left Marius devastated. Because she was dying in his arms, she felt safe and comforted despite being in so much pain and it was also her happiest moment of her life.

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All of the students including Gavroche were martyrs who died for a cause, which was for the love of their country. They were angry at the unstable government and took a stand and fought even when they knew they were going to die. You would think that Gavroche had the saddest death because he was just a kid, but he died a heroic death and fought for what he believed in. Enjolras and the other students knew they going to die and lose at the time of the uprising, but stayed passionate in their cause and fought anyway.

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At first, it would seem like Valjean was going to die alone, but that wasn’t the case. After Cosette and Marius’ wedding, the two of them arrived at the time of his death. It was a coincidence that they would show up because they arrived as he was about to pray to see his adopted daughter again. Despite being an ex-convict, he truly changed into a better man. He kept the promises he made towards both the bishop and Fantine. He ended up almost like a saint because of the number of lives he saved. He helped save Fantine, Cosette, and Marius. He was able to forgive Javert despite how much he hated Javert. He showed compassion towards the poor, Fantine, and Cosette. He showed this amazing amount of love towards Cosette, which is why he saved Marius at the barricade. Because of how much Valjean changed, his redemption was very strong at the time of his death.

Then there is Javert who committed suicide. He was the only one of the characters who did not have much compassion, forgiveness or love inside of him. He could not forgive Valjean even after Valjean released him from the barricades. The only thing he actually seemed to love is the law, which he follows very strictly. He sees the world in black and white and committed his entire life to capturing Valjean to put him back in prison. But after Valjean showed him mercy and compassion, he released he was wrong about Valjean because he assumed that criminals can never change. By seeing Valjean doing moral things, he released he no longer has a reason to live because Valjean twisted his way of thinking. He finally came to senses and realized that everything he believed was false and that some of his actions were not the right thing to do.

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Thoughts: What do you think, do you think there is an important symbolism and significance behind the fact that only one character dies alone and the others are with somebody?

Power of Evensong

Just last night, I got to attend Evensong at my church. It was so odd seeing Evensong because the last time I been to one was in England. Just being at this Evensong made me want to be back at Bristol Cathedral. Evensong surprised me during the trip because I did not think I would really like that service, but I was proved wrong. In fact I attended all the different church services during the trip. Seven of those would end up being Evensong and two of them were not at Bristol Cathedral. It was such a treat to hear my church’s choir sing in a gorgeous cathedral and as the week progressed, the choir just continued to get better and better. I remember being so moved by the final Evensong and because of that, I was aware of how meaningful Evensong has been and how it has been an important part of my spiritual journey.

That trip was very spiritual, emotional, and transforming. It was an important step for my journey with God. Because of the trip, I feel like I closer to them than ever before. What was interesting about the trip is I ended up liking more of it then I originally thought. I was surprised by how much I loved Evensong, Tintern Abbey, and Bristol. We just happened to be in Bristol when there were Shaun the Sheep statues hidden throughout the city. Finding them was quite fun and was one of the most memorable parts of the trip.

The best part of the pilgrimage was the fellowship among everyone. If it wasn’t for the strong bond that we had, some of the spiritual parts may not have been as meaningful. I still feel that same fellowship when I am around any of the seventy two pilgrims. All of us may have had different experiences, but the thing that we all shared in common was a love for each other.