The Magic of Potential

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My brother and I grew up on movie musicals (he'll own it too!).  We watched other shows too of course, but we loved Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singing in the Rain, Annie, My Fair Lady, and The Music Man.  (I always thought we watched them because my mom really liked them, but, a few years ago when I told my mom how nice it was that we got our love of the classic musicals from her, she said she actually wasn't much of a fan but she discovered that they kept us entertained so she kept renting them.  Whatever it takes to keep your kids happy, even if you have to listen to "It's a Hard Knock Life" over and over again :).

I think this love of musicals even helped me have an 'in' with Bryce's family.  Once when we were dating or engaged, The Music Man came up around the table and I recited most of the words to the "Trouble" song  - "with a capital 'T' that rhymes with 'P' that stands for 'Pool'.  Either their smiles showed that it was pleasant surprise to hear me sing/say one of their favorite musical songs or they thought I was a crazy person...or a little of both.

If you're not familiar with the movie, a bored, unhappy small town puts their faith in a likeable swindler-turned-fake band leader who promises he can teach their boys to play with the added benefit of keeping them out of mischief.  His conman ways are exposed and he's arrested.  In a last ditch effort to save his skin, he conducts the boys in a song and they actually play it - not well at all but they play it.  The town forgives him for being a fake, and the band - which has magically multiplied and been decked out with amazing uniforms and primo instruments - triumphantly leads the whole town, now united and happy, in a fantastic parade.  "Seventy-six trombones led the big parade with a hundred and ten cornets close at hand..."

Until just a few months ago, I'm embarrassed to say that I'd taken that part literally.  All of the sudden the band is transformed into a huge marching band that can play amazing music.  What's implausible about that?  I guess I hadn't really thought about it.

But recently Bryce was telling me about something (maybe a church lesson or a work story?  can't remember) and he compared it to the ending of the movie, saying that it's like the MM where you see someone's potential rather than what they are right now and that's what you focus on.  What they're doing in the moment is magical to you because you love them, you're thrilled for them and you see what they're becoming.

Uh, yeah, Bryce - that's exactly what I got out of that movie too : ).

Immediately, my mind went to Caroline.  Most people see her and I imagine they see what their mind lets them see.  Some ignore her.  Some are afraid of her because they don't understand her medical issues or because she's not like everyone else.  Some just feel pity for her and think she probably should've been 'taken care of' before birth because her body's not perfect (it's a harsh thing to even mention but it's the view of many in our society).

Finally there's family, friends, teachers and nurses who know she's a sweet, wonderful girl who has an indescribably strong spirit.  We're catching a glimpse of her eternal potential - whether or not folks are religious, when they see her personality and her soul, they see her for who she can be - because we are all eternal beings having a mortal experience.

I can't express how hard it is sometimes to have a child who has this body and mind.  It's not easy.  When I remember how brief things are here and how we all have hard things to deal with and all will be made right because of Jesus Christ though, I feel peace. 

Just like that brass band, Caroline's my sweet little girl who every once in awhile is transformed before my eyes into a beautiful, strong healthy person - someone who will hug me back one day and tell me all about her thoughts and feelings.  She's amazing and I know I don't even understand how whole and perfect she'll be.  I can't wait to see it.


  1. I love this! It brought tears to my eyes. You are amazing! Xoxo

  2. This is very beautifully written. Love you! (Oh, and I remember when you busted out in the trouble song. It was impressive. I didn't think you were a crazy person :) )

  3. Thanks, Mel and Haley! Love you both!


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