My ‘Take’ On Les Miserables


A few years ago during the holiday season I was “taken” by my wife to the local theater to watch Les Miserables on the big screen. I must admit that I went solely out of duty and because I wanted to score “brownie” points with her. And although I admit that I did fall asleep in the middle of the six-hour show, (a slight exaggeration), I came out of the experience inspired and educated. There are many lessons to be learned from this classic story, all of which has been discussed and examined over the past century and a half. So I won’t attempt to give my humble opinion regarding its moral storyline and the characters found therein. However, I must report that what I was most impressed with was how miserable a life most of these people lived. Thus the title of the movie! Witnessing their lives and watching Ann Hathaway withering in pain while singing “I Dreamed a Dream” left me pondering regarding my own life and how blessed I am to live in such a time of prosperity. In fact, the lasting impression I gained from watching the movie was how blessed everyone is to live, not only in such a country as ours but at a time when technology is at its zenith! I recall reading a study regarding the poor of our country. I was amazed to find out that:

“80% of poor families have air conditioning. 92% have a microwave. Almost two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. More than half of poor households with children have a video game system. Half of poor households have a computer and 43% have Internet access. A third have a plasma or LCD TV, and a quarter have a digital video recorder.” (MSN Money, August 2, 2012)

My point in sharing the above percentages is not to diminish in any way the plight of our poor, but only to point out that sometimes we can become so mired in our misery that we forget how blessed we really are! As I sat there in front of that big screen I couldn’t help but think that my problems, as weighty as they may seem to me at times, are minor compared to what many have borne throughout the existence of this planet.

My greatest lesson from the movie was that I should thank the Lord each day that I live for the blessings that are showered upon me and my loved ones. I shared what I had learned with my wife as we left the movie house and I thanked her for dragging me out to see Les Miserables. I guess after 35 years of marriage (at the time) a guy never learns. My wife was so thrilled by my compliment that she bought tickets for us to watch it again the next week. As I stated back then, “I guess it will be worth it to go through six more hours of misery just to see Russell Crowe jump off that bridge again. After listening to him sing, I will enjoy vicariously holding his hand and, with enthusiasm, take the plunge with him!”

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