- In London, my family and I were walking in the West End. My mom and I had a theatre date. Finding the theatre was challenging. No one know where they going. Once the Queen’s theatre came into view, I could not believe what I was seeing. It seemed to be only a dream, but became reality once the show started.
- On a plain, rocks seemed to be boring and nothing scared showed up. However by the time you reach the rocks up close, the sacredness began. The dark clouds circled around these rocks. You notice a strong wind passing through you, which was like God’s presence.
- TIntern felt boring at first. Nothing spiritual or meaningful happened to be there. But once a white dove was spotted nestled in the corner, the abbey became a big memory.
- What a sound in Westminster, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral. Ten church services in all and most were Evensong. The best was saved for last in Bristol.
- “We are pilgrims on the journey, we are travelers on the journey, we are here to help each other, walk the mile and bear the load. The fellowship stayed strong, which allowed the things that happened to gain more meaning
These short stories represent memories of my trip to England last year.
I remember what it was like trying to find the Queen’s Theatre in the West End. I just happened to be in the West End thinking there is no way this is actually happening. It was hard to believe I was about to live one of my dreams. There are no way I was about to see Les Mis in London. Once the theatre came into view, everything started becoming a reality. While eating dinner across from the theatre, I just could not stop staring at the theatre. We arrived at the theatre and once in the auditorium, I just could not believe it. I also knew there was an understudy for Valjean.
Once the lights went off and the music began, I knew my dream was becoming reality and that it was going to more than I thought. I already knew the stage show from front to back, but only seen the stage version three times, but never professionally. I was so impressed by the entire cast from the ensemble to the leads. The emotions were stronger then ever and the story became even more epic. My tears started sooner then excepted but so glad they started when they did. I just let the emotions happen and allowed the show to work its magic on me and not the other way around. This musical truly has changed my life. Once the show ended, I went to the stage show despite it being outside of my comfort zone. but glad I went. I got to meet Adam Bayjou (Valjean AKA 24601) and he signed my playbill and I had my picture taken with him.
In fact, Les Mis connects to the rest of the trip. I was mainly in England for a pilgrimage to Bristol. Our church choir was in residence at Bristol Cathedral. We were going to visit places with rich history, sacredness, and spirituality.The “mountain-top moment” of everything we did during the pilgrimage was Stonehenge. Like my story said, the atmosphere was perfect with circling clouds and a strong wind.God’s energy kept on pulling me in.
Tintern Abbey was kind of boring at first and did not quite understand the place at all, but once I saw that dove, the abbey became one of the big memories of my trip.
There were ten church services I went to and I thought I would get bored of all the services. But boy I was wrong. I went to all ten of them and so glad I made that decision. The services were at Westminster, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral. We got to sit in some of the most wonderful places. Whether that was in the quire of Westminster or under the dome of St. Paul’s, still good seats. But the services at Bristol were the strongest. That was because it was my church’s choir. At the last service, the choir was at their best and at the anthem, I was crying. That was the second time I teared up during England.It was just beautiful and through that reaction, I was aware of how much the pilgrimage developed my spirituality.
But it wasn’t the places that we did that was the best part. It was in fact the fellowship and bond that the group had for each other. That made each of the memories even stronger. We helped others when they needed it. We shared memories of the places we went to. The lyrics “we are pilgrims on the journey, we are travelers on the journey, we are here to help each other, walk the mile and bear the load” represent the fellowship of the group.
Les Mis may not have been part of the pilgrimage, but does have a huge contribution to the trip as a whole. Considering the fact that a pilgrimage is a spiritual journey, it helps explain how Les Mis relates to that. Valjean, the protagonist of the show, goes on a spiritual journey to become a better person who started as a harsh, angry, bitter man. He was in prison for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread in times of need for his family. Five were for the stealing and the rest were for trying to escape. Through a kindly act of compassion and understanding from the Bishop, Valjean realized he needs to turn his life around. By the end of his journey, he becomes very saint-like and has saved many lives.The show covers themes such as hope, love, sacrifice, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, and redemption. So after going on Valjean’s spiritual journey, the next day I was able to start going on my own. So it does make sense I saw Les Mis the day before I went on a pilgrimage. It was fun knowing that I ended up seeing the musical in London the year the show would turn 30 in the West End.