Saturday, December 24, 2016

Larry Mann writes........

This was written by our friend Larry Mann and posted on Facebook today. It made me cry....

"Suddenly, against all my determination for self-control, hot tears streamed down my face. My nose began to run. How pathetic I felt without a handkerchief – which any decent, young gentleman should never be without, especially at a concert hall. 

I think I was nine years old, and it was Christmas Eve. My parents had brought us – my two sisters and myself – to a matinee performance of “The Nutcracker,” by Ballet West at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City.

In spellbound awe, we watched as, at midnight, the Stahlbaum family’s Christmas tree began growing to towering heights, magically dwarfing Clara who has snuck out of bed to comfort her broken nutcracker, a gift from her Godfather, Drosselmeyer the toymaker. In the excitement of Christmas Eve festivities earlier in the evening, Clara’s thoughtless brother Fritz had broken it, and Clara is heartbroken. 

But as Clara cradles her broken toy in the dim, dreamy glow of the tree, huge hungry mice creep out, threatening her with their sharp teeth. Her brave wooden soldier nutcracker, now miraculously grown taller than she is, defends Clara, battling the army of mice with his sword, climaxing in that unforgettable scene where he is transformed into a breathtakingly handsome prince. Cue the tears! He is GORGEOUS. 

But please understand: I’m not crying just in response to the unbelievably enchanting music, the lustrous beauty of the scenes, the inspiring masculinity of Clara’s nutcracker prince, or just because I’m a sensitive little gay boy. 

There’s more to it than that.

Think of the wretched, dirty housemaid, besmudged with ashes, who the handsome prince realizes is Cinderella.

Think of The Ugly Duckling, who emerges as a regal, majestic swan, the most beautiful bird any of them have ever seen.

Think of Beauty and The Beast, where the hideous beast creature, barely tolerated by Belle, becomes a noble, handsome prince.

Think of Pinocchio, the marionette, who, after a series of life-threatening mishaps, becomes a real live boy.

Think of Jean Valjean, who spends nearly two decades in prison for stealing a loaf of bread, despised by Marius, who realizes, a little late, that Jean Valjean is the man who saved his life. (Les Miserables)

Think of Cordelia, banished by King Lear, the only one of his three daughters who loves him, which he finally realizes only after it is too late.

Think of Mr. Darcy, who Elizabeth Bennett thinks is insufferably vain and proud - until she's ready to let go of her prejudices. THEN he's solid gold. 

And at Christmas time, think of the one who was the object of mocking and spitting; who was “despised, rejected, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” as the Prophet Isaiah wrote, but who continued “And the government shall be upon his shoulders; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” 

Think of anyone who seems broken, despised, undeserving, ugly – and think of who they might really be - if we could see past their outward appearances.

I think that’s why I cried – not for the handsome prince on the ballet stage, but for myself. We all need someone who sees our beauty; we all need saving."

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