Hello SOTGC community,
For those of you who have not seen the movie Les Miserables and have been on the fence about seeing it, I HIGHLY suggest that you watch it as soon as you’re able to. Les Mis has always been my favorite musical. My Grandmother was a HUGE supporter of the fine arts, so I probably went to my first musical before I was able to ride a bike. I’ve seen Les Mis in the theaters several times and when I saw the trailer for the movie and the unique way the director shot it, I was extremely excited to see how they would do.
I was able to see it this past weekend. Please don’t make the mistake I did and forget to bring a box of tissues, I spent half the movie waiting for loud moments so I could sniff and wipe away the tears that started about 5 minutes into the film, and continued to rain throughout the entire movie. I applaud the ENTIRE cast for their heartfelt and emotionally raw depictions of their given characters. As I was watching the movie, and seeing the resounding theme throughout it, I started to draw parallels to both my work and personal life.
The lead character, Jean Valjean, starts off with a bit of a raw deal in the beginning. Once he is back in the “real world” we see him attempt to walk the “straight and narrow” but because of his criminal past no one wants to give him a fair shot. He finally comes across a Bishop who welcomes him into his home, gives him food/shelter/kindness, and is repaid by Jean Valjean stealing from him and running in the middle of the night. When he is caught and brought back for punishment, the Bishop goes along with the story that Jean Valjean was gifted with the silver, and actually hands him the other two most expensive pieces that Jean Valjean had left behind. He then tells Jean Valjean to use the silver to start a new life, along the path of good, and that he has saved his soul for God. Throughout the rest of the movie Jean Valjean follows the right path and spends his life putting others before himself.
Throughout both my personal and work life I have been given second, third, and fourth chances. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve messed up and had to learn the hard way on certain things, but there have always been people who never ceased to believe in me and continued to give me a second shot. This has shaped the way I feel and act towards people who remind me of the hot headed/conflicted/insecure person I was growing up. It also invokes a healthy sense of empathy towards new people in the industry (surgical device sales) who I see have the hunger and drive, but need some direction or “heads up” tips before they step into the proverbial land mines (as others did for me when I was new.)
From what I’ve observed, we as humans inherently want to believe in the good of each other. Even when people make pretty big mistakes we want to think there is some good in them deep down. We hope that, if given the right amount of support and nurture, this good will surface and prevail.
Watching this movie, seeing someone who changes so many lives because of the redemption he was offered at his lowest point, reminds me to remember the chances I have been given, especially when I start to lose patience with someone. I think the greatest gift that someone can give to you is the gift of understanding and hope. I also believe that the best way to repay this gift, is to return it to someone who needs it even maybe more than you did at the time it was granted to you.
So how about you? Is there someone (either work or personal) that has been trying your patience, that you have seen the inherent good in, but have lately seen a less than stellar performance? Can you remember a time perhaps not so long ago, that someone never lost faith in you and offered the redemption you needed? Can you turn around, and bestow the gift of understanding and hope that was once so magnanimously given to you?