The Greatest Showman was great! At first I was iffy because Zac Efron is in it. I mean I know he’s a good actor, but I don’t always trust his role choices. But I love Hugh Jackman and I like Zendaya. Plus so many people, including the girls’ friends, kept saying it was sooo good. And of course I’d already seen the videos of a couple of the songs. I love “This is me.” I loved it even more seeing the movie and seeing the choreography. Such an anthem.
Some highlights for me….
- Charity’s love and support for Phin. She didn’t pressure her husband or put him in a box. She wished for happiness, not fortune or fame, not even a comfortable lifestyle. Despite her affluent upbringing, she was happy anywhere, as long as she was with her family. I love that scene up on the roof, when Phin apologetically said that it was not the life he promised Charity, that he promised her a life of magic and wonder, to which she replied “Look at those two girls….” I feel the same way. There is magic and wonder in our children. I thank God for them everyday. Anywhere with my family, by the grace of God.
- Phin’s celebration of the oddities. It may have begun as a money making scheme, but he gave those guys something to do, something to look forward to, something to be proud of. He wasn’t afraid to be judged, or criticized, or be different. He wasn’t afraid to stand by his team despite the daily threat of a riot outside his theater. I believe we need to celebrate people as well. We all have our quirks and flaws. None of us is perfect. We need to give each other a chance, see each other’s potential, see the good. We need to lift one another up, instead of judge and tear each other down.
- Phillip’s desire for change. Phillip was among the upper class, but he was no longer content being one of them. He didn’t want to be trapped in his parents’ world, where they thought too highly of themselves and looked down on others. We should not be comfortable maintaining and perpetuating the status quo. We must choose to treat people, all kinds of people, fairly and with great respect. We must fight against discrimination, even in our own little way, and stand up for others.
- The distraction, aka Jenny Lind. Phin used Jenny Lind to get the approval of the upper class. He enjoyed the attention and the respect. He got blinded by it, and started neglecting his circus and his family. He left them to go on tour with Jenny, who also almost distracted him from his marriage. Distractions, whether they are people, feelings, things, or things to do, can be dangerous. They can lead us astray. They can make us forget our original purpose, our goals. They can make us neglect, even abandon our priorities. We must be vigilant. Is this what God wants me to do? Does this honor God? Will this honor my spouse? Am I being a good leader (to my people and to my family)? Am I being a good example to my children?
- Charity’s wisdom. “When will it ever be enough?” She knew that her husband was chasing something that would never satisfy him. She knew that he had gone beyond what he first dreamed, that he had forgotten what truly mattered. She knew that he needed to let go of the past, stop proving himself to others because he already had everything he should want and need. We all can be stubborn at times. We all need wise people around us to remind us, to keep us grounded, to pray for us, to help us realign ourselves to the will of God. They often see more clearly from their perspective. We need to be humble enough to listen.
- The loyalty of his team. When he thought he’d lost all, even after his neglect as their ring master, his team of “freaks” stood by him. The lyric “A man learns who is there for him When the glitter fades and the walls won’t hold,” from his song From Now On conveys this clearly. They believed in him because he, imperfect as he was, believed in them. They stood by him because he brought them together and because he was the only one who gave them — they who were ridiculed and rejected by their own parents — a sense of family. Loyalty is such a rare commodity these days, but kindness, acceptance, love, hope — these are what breeds loyalty in people.
- Passing the baton. Phin literally passed the baton to Phillip, to continue his legacy of bringing joy to people. Whatever we are passionate about, whatever we are great at, we should pass it on, teach it to somebody. Whatever is good, whatever is noble, whatever is worthwhile and praiseworthy, we should pass it on. The love and transformative work of Jesus, the Gospel — teach others, pass it on. “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Tim 2:2
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8