I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie The Greatest Showman, but if you have, please don’t mention it to my kids. I first watched it with a girlfriend months ago. I enjoyed it but left the theatre and moved on with my life. A few of the memorable scenes stayed with me, but certainly not the musical score.
Well, a month ago Madalen had a sleepover with a cousin. They watched The Greatest Showman. My life will never be the same. Since that day there has not been one 24-hour period that hasn’t included multiple replays of the soundtrack. The songs play over and over. No matter how many times I hear them I still get the words wrong when I try to sing along. It just adds to the torture.
Madalen’s brothers aren’t all on board, though even the less than enthusiastic ones still play along on their instruments. Isaac puts on a suit and has found a stick that he can use to imitate Hugh Jackman. Madalen “forces” him to learn new dance steps with her to the romantic songs with Zac Efron (I think Mr. Efron has the honour of being the first Hollywood crush in our household). Even Thomas sings, no, bellows out the words. It’s very serious business.
The problem is mostly that I CANNOT get the songs out of my head. It has been over a month and they are constantly in my head! I’m humming them even now. Thank you, Apple Music.
One of the songs, though, struck me recently as different from the rest. The character Jenny comes to tour America as a famous opera singer at Barnum’s invitation. She grew up knowing that having been born out of wedlock set her apart. She would never quite fit in or be accepted by her family. As she and Barnum spend more and more time together she falls in love with him and puts all her hopes in finally finding fulfillment in his life (despite the fact that Barnum is married).
Loren Allred beautifully sings out, “Will you share this with me? 'Cause darling without you, All the shine of a thousand spotlights All the stars we steal from the night sky Will never be enough Towers of gold are still too little These hands could hold the world but it'll Never be enough”
“Never Enough” becomes a much-repeated refrain, almost a desperate cry. She could hold all that the universe offers her, but none of it could ever fill her heart. Without the love of this one remarkable man life is meaningless.
Of course, Barnum sees that he has been misleading her and goes home to his family. Jenny is crushed and essentially is then left with nothing. She does not have this man she wants so badly. Nothing else will ever be enough. According to the song, there is no hope or happiness without him.
Christian pop music aside, our musical “culture” is full of this same message. We are promised a life of happiness if we just find that one person meant for us. But it is a lie, a deceit of the devil. There is no person on this planet that can give us perfect happiness. And if we believe that there is someone who can, then it’s time to knock them off the throne we’ve put them on and put Christ back where he belongs.
Instead of staring at each other, those in love are given the gift of looking towards him, together. They are given the gift of finding and sharing happiness as a gift given from God. As their love for him grows the joy they receive will be a blessing to their own relationship.
I’ve referred to what I call the God-shaped hole before. I think about this song and really feel that it would be true and good, if only the word “darling” were replaced with “Lord.” If we are living a life that does not include the love of Christ, then no amount of worldly goods or affection could ever be enough.
The God-shaped hole inside of us will grow as it swallows down the things we stuff ourselves with: money, sex, worldly love, physical beauty, drugs, food. These will never be enough. The only satisfaction that will fill our heart and soul is the gift of grace given to us by the Man-God, and the blood he pours out upon us … That, and maybe a break from musical soundtracks.
“Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You” – St. Augustine.