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March 2013

by Michael O’Brien

I’m working on captioning some of my paintings for an exhibit that opens soon. It’s mostly mechanical work, resizing, rotating, things like that.

I had some music on, a random playlist, and a song came up, “Epilogue” from Les Miserables. I knew it from the film, and some other times hearing it. It’s the scene where Jean Beljon is reunited with his daughter as he is dying.

His daughter commands him to live; he says he’ll try, and then the voice of his daughter’s mother enters, whom he promised he’d raise her daughter as his own. She implores him to lay down his burden, to join her and be with God for raising and protecting her daughter. She offers him salvation for his care.

He writes his confession as an escaped prisoner and tells his daughter to read it well after his death.

Some words stand out as it plays:

    come with me where chains will never bind you

    take my hand I’ll lead you to salvation

    take my love for love is everlasting

    even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise


    To love another person is to see the face of God

I often wonder why some words I hear stick more than others. Is it we’re just slowed down enough to hear? Or is it that there is something inside of us we struggle to express and find that a writer has done it perfectly?

The one who holds my heart was away this weekend at a family funeral out of state. I spent the days working away at the taxes, making small steady progress. When the day that she was to return came, I made the drive to Houston to meet her at the plane. She had driven in; her car was there, but I wanted to, maybe had to be there to say welcome home, I missed you!

It’s hard to tell the ones we love how much they mean to us. It’s hard for me to find the words, and hard to get them out coherently. But it’s important to try. Love is just that important.

I like the thought that loving our spouses, our children, and our family is the most important thing in life…effectively, to be in the presence of love is to see the face of God. That’s the words from the song.

Some will say God’s face is not for us to know, and I agree with that, but Love is a gift…from somewhere…a big gift that so many of us have been given, in the form of a person we trust with the depth of us and in the form of our children, the only reason we risk ourselves, our futures…we give to them that they may be better than us…and they are, it is what we believe.

Some friends fall into this category, but it’s hard to keep them there. Lives, careers, interests all change over time making it hard to say it’s the same. Anyway…I’m losing my thread.

Respect love.  It is a gift.  It is perhaps THE gift.

Make sure that what you do, what you say, let them know that.

Be good to each other, especially the ones you love!