I saw something on Facebook about April 16th being the 40th anniversary of the first performance of A Chorus Line. Ah. A Chorus Line. There’s a musical.
The national tour of A Chorus Line came to Wichita sometime when I was 11 or 12. I know because I was still taking ballet, and everyone at the studio was positively raving about this show, which I’d never heard of. The dancing! Oh, the dancing! It was fantastic! You HAVE to see this show!
So, I talked my mother into taking me to see the show. To this day, I’m a little ashamed that I put her through that. Of course, never having heard anything about the show (other than, “The dancing! The dancing!”), I’m not completely to blame. I had no idea the storylines and subject matter and suggestive language we would be subjected to. I remember being afraid to look at my mother until it was all over. The whole time, I was waiting for her to decide this had finally crossed a line and remove me from the premises.
She never did. She didn’t say a whole lot about it, actually. I worked up the guts in the car on the way home to ask her what she thought about the show. “Well,” she hesitated, “I like that it showed a lot of different kind of people living a lot of different kinds of lives.
“And that’s what I didn’t like about it, too.”
My mother. The queen of sweetness and diplomacy.
Now that I’m mature and all, I’d love to ask her more. For one thing, I wonder what she told my dad about the show when we got home. I can’t imagine that she owned up to the real content matter that she had subjected me to, because I’m pretty sure he would have taken me home at intermission and would have thought she should have, too.
I also kind of wonder if she could have articulated even more what she meant by the review she gave me. If she could explain what she liked about the variety of lifestyles shown. Why is that a good thing? It’s not because she enjoyed hearing about all those lifestyles – that, I’m confident, is what she didn’t like about it. But could she articulate what was good about hearing all that?
I’m not sure she could, but I think instinctively she knew that there is benefit to being aware of not just the sin in the world, but of the situations that lead to sin, of the grief and brokenness that comes out of sin. I think there was something in her that understood the dangers of a Christian cocooning and accusing rather than listening and loving.
So much you miss when you lose your mom at 31.