What I Love about Jean Valjean

Jean Valjean is the protagonist in Les Mis. He is an ex-convict unfairly sentenced for nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. He is one of the best protagonists in the world of musicals.

Major Spoilers:

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He is a character that goes through a wonderful transformation. When he is released from prison, he is stuck on parole forever. Being in prison has hardened him to become a hateful and angry man. It is his transformation that makes him such a wonderful character in so many ways.

It wasn’t until he meets that bishop that he realizes he needs to change. He feels like society will always hate him. The bishop showed him an incredible act of mercy by inviting him to eat and sleep at his house. But Valjean hardened through prison repays by stealing his silver. But the bishop forgives him and gives him the silver. He has taught Valjean the ways of the Lord.

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It is in this particular moment, Valjean has realized just how much prison has hardened him and realizes that he needs to change his ways. He notices the compassion the bishop has shown him. In order to change his ways, he needs to break parole.

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So Valjean has become mayor and starts to show compassion to those of others. He opens up a factory. He helps the less fortunate. So his transformation has truly begun. He was given a second chance at life and starts to live by the ways of the bishop. He indirectly is responsible for the firing of Fantine. He shows compassion to her by promising to raise her child, Cosette, on her deathbed. So Valjean understands the value of compassion at this point. In addition, when an innocent man is accused of being the “real” Valjean, Valjean turns himself in to protect the man.

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Valjean discovers just how broken Cosette is. She has been abused by the Thenardiers. Valjean has become a father in the most unexpected ways. Jean Valjean has never known love and neither has Cosette. So the two form such a special bond. Cosette is the main happiness in Jean Valjean’s life. She helps him with his transformation to becoming a better person. You might think he is sheltering and protecting Cosette too much, but let’s remember he is an ex-convict on the run and knows that Javert is after him.

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In act II, Valjean realizing that Cosette loves Marius, he does an amazing act of courage. He realizes that his daughter loves Marius. He picks up on the fact that Marius might die on the barricade so he ends up going to the barricade to protect Marius in order to make sure that he lives. Marius and the students eventually realize the uprising is a lost cause. After “Drink With Me”, Jean Valjean prays to God to make sure Marius lives. So Jean Valjean has learned to love God and it is clear that he has such a strong spirit.

During the final battle, Marius seriously gets injured and he falls unconscious so Valjean carries him through the sewers and eventually rescues him from death. This act of courage shows just how much he loves Cosette. It shows that he is capable of both compassion and courage.

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Valjean dies at the end. But he gets to die with Marius, his now son-in-law, and Cosette by his side. He has finally redeemed himself. He has become such a compassionate and saint-like man. He has lived a tough life of being an ex-convict, but he learns to love through Cosette. He has learned a lot of lessons through the bishop and that is why he was able to become a better person.

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So his transformation makes him such a well-loved character. To start out as a hateful, harsh, and angry man into a compassionate and saint-like man is so inspiring. He has developed a wonderful love for God. Due to being to prison, he rescues an innocent man from being sentenced to prison. He also rescues a man trapped under a cart. So he does many moments of risking himself for the sake of other people. Cosette has taught him how to love and he would anything for her even if it means losing her forever. That is why he rescues Marius. So his transformation and his actions make me love him so much.

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Favorite Contemporary Christian Songs

As some might know, they are aware that there is another genre of music other than musicals that I love as well. I am drawn to contemporary Christian music in a similar way that I am drawn to musicals. I feel like I can easily connect to God in Christian music. Some of my favorite Christian songs are hymns and some of them are unique to my church. So for this post, I will write a list of some of my favorite Christian music.

  1. On Eagle’s Wings
  2. Here I Am Lord
  3. Seek Ye First
  4. I am the Bread of Life
  5. Let Us Break Bread Together
  6. All Are Welcome (unique to my church)
  7. Call to Discipleship (unique to my church)
  8. Fierce
  9. Power to Redeem
  10. Great Are You Lord
  11. Shout to the Lord
  12. You Raise Me Up
  13. For The Beauty Of the Earth
  14. Above All
  15. Child of God
  16. One Thing Remains
  17. Anchor
  18. Come to the River
  19. Lord I Lift Your Name On High
  20. Sanctuary
  21. Servant Song
  22. Create in Me
  23. Prince of Peace
  24. You Are My All in All
  25. Dry Bones (Come Alive)

What are some of Your Favorite Christian Songs?

Beauty of God’s Creation

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One place that I love about Gardner Webb is the lake, which is near the suites, which is where I live on Campus. On the way back to the suites, I saw a rainbow in the lake and I had never seen a rainbow in the lake before. You never know when nature shows you a part of creation you had never seen before. It shows just how beautiful nature can be.

The rainbow in the lake shows that creation is beautiful and that rainbow was captured in the picture above. The rainbow in the lake reminds me of God’s presence and the importance of God in my life. I want to make the most of my last year of  college, which is why I wanted to capture the rainbow in the lake.

Bring Him Home Analysis

Major Spoiler Alert:

“Bring Him Home” is sung by Valjean at the barricades. As a bit of background, one of the main plot lines in Les Mis is the uprising arranged by college-age students. Marius, who loves Cosette, is one of the revolutionaries. A couple scenes back, Valjean has discovered that his adopted daughter, Cosette, loves Marius and because Valjean loves Cosette so much, he heads over to the barricades in order to protect Marius.

“Bring Him Home” is a prayer that Valjean sends to God in order to make sure that Marius survives the barricades. In “Drink With Me”, the song right before “Bring Him Home”, the students realize there is a high chance that most of them will be killed. After Eponine died, they realized just how outnumbered they really are and acknowledged the fact in “Drink With Me”. In “Bring Him Home”, Valjean brings up the fact that he would rather die than Marius because Marius is only a boy and still quite young and still has a future ahead of him.

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This song can easily not be  that sad the first time around. But when seeing Les Mis a second time, this song becomes even sadder than what it appears. As a matter of fact, the rebellion ends up being a complete failure. Marius is the only survivor and with knowing that fact, it makes you realize during “Bring Hime Home” that the other students will not survive. As a matter of fact, Marius had to survive since he loves Cosette because Cosette is supposed to represent hope and light and if Marius didn’t survive, Cosette would not represent what she does in Les Mis. Valjean’s prayer at the barricades in a lot of ways is one of the places where spirituality shines through Les Mis even though the song is sadder than it appears and that is due to Valjean praying to God and throughout Les Mis, there is a love of God shown throughout.

Since it is Memorial Day, “Bring Him Home” can connect to the soldiers that families will hope survive even if they know there is a chance they might get killed. That sounds almost like Valjean’s situation. Valjean is getting older and he needs someone to continue caring and protecting Cosette.

What are your thoughts on “Bring Him Home”?

The Lord’s Steadfast Love

They will have no fear of bad news;  their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord

-Psalms 112:7

This is quite a wonderful piece of scripture. It is important to trust in Lord. When bad times strike, keep being loyal to the Lord. He will help you get through and accomplish so much. It is hard to not have fear when it comes to bad news. As a college student, I trust in the Lord, which helps me pull through. True, we live in a life of fear, but it is important to live according to the example that the Lord set for us. It is important to love others. The Lord will guide us in the right direction. There is hope even when a lot of fear is going on this world.

Trusting in the Lord

“God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at break of day”

-Psalms 46:5

This quote really shows how much God is part of our lives. It shows that God will not give up. He will help us when we are broken and will help us when we are not. He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit. Throughout college, I have found ways to help strengthen my spirituality. Every week, I attend our student-led worship service and singing those songs really enter and fill me up with the Holy Spirit. By attending weekly, I am able to develop my strong spirit and you can feel the energy from all the students singing. Sometimes I have to be reminded that God will always be a part of my life and one place I find that is through the sunsets and sunrises that I see. When there is a test, I look up to God and trust Him that I will get through them.

God is highly important to me. He  teaches us the importance of love, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. He helps show us the light in the midst of darkness. He helps guide us so that our dreams will come true. He guides us in the midst of trouble and when we are heading in the right direction. Everyone has God-given gifts and we must use them to our advantage. We might feel broken at times, but God will always look over us.

 

Plans of the Lord

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”

-Jeremiah 29:11-13

Sometimes things in life don’t make sense. But God has a plan for each of us. Sometimes it is hard to know what parts of our life are part of His plan and what parts are not. But listen to God. He has a plan for each of us and our calling is why we are on this earth. I discovered my calling in high school and never once realized that my calling was meant to be a job. In high, through a special dinner exercise, I realized the vast majority of the world was living in poverty and I just knew I had to do something. In Fall of 2015, I learned to love Sociology and that as when I realized that God actually wanted me to work in Nonprofit and yes that sounds a bit risky, but if thats where God wants me to be, I will work there.

Than the semester after that, I found another side to my calling. God somehow found a way to blend my two biggest passions into one Nonprofit idea. I plan to open up a theatre where the homeless can be involved. My true passion is helping the homeless and my other passion is musicals. I loved musicals growing up and Wicked sparked my love for musicals and was the show where I started to understand the emotional side of musicals. Than Les Mis becomes an important part of my life and I became obsessed with it and that turned me into a musical fanatic. So this idea combines my passion for theatre and my passion for helping the homeless.

So what I am basically saying is that God has a plan for each of us. I know when darkness strikes, it makes no sense at all. But God knows what He is doing. He wants to strengthen us and lead us to the light. He loves all of us conditionally and knows the importance of compassion, love, kindness, and forgiveness. It is important to know what your God-given gifts are. One of mine is my strong spirit and that is one thing that makes me unique. He wants to give us hope even if society is broken. He keeps me going through my day and I continue to strengthen my spirituality.