Changed For Good
The name alone makes you turn away: Wicked. Gregory Maquire wrote a story about a different view of the Wizard of Oz story called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It turned into a bestseller (which I have yet to read). Next came the Tony-award winning musical, Wicked, which I tried to see earlier this month in New York City but the weekend performances are sold out for the next few months.
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from the Broadway musical. The story line is about the untold story of the friendship between Glinda, the good witch, and Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west. One of the final songs in the musical is called For Good. Toward the final portion, Elphaba sings about her friend:
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend:
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you:
Because I knew you:
I have been changed for good
Whether we realize it or not, we are changed from our relationships with other people—in person or in print. What are the impact of your relationships and your writing? Are they changing people for good? I hope so. I don’t always do it right but I know in my communication with others I have a choice about how I handle it (or don’t handle it). Like yesterday I got a personalized email from a fellow member of the Evangelical Press Association. It was a pre-announcement to watch for a mailing—but it was really a personal reminder about this person and their skills with a hint that maybe I could use them in some current project. I could have hit the delete button or I could have sent a tart response. Instead I sent a little note saying it was good to hear from them and they should keep up the good effort. Plus I added that I didn’t have any need at the moment but I would keep them in mind in the future. I hit the send button and didn’t think anything else about it—until later in the day.
I was surprised with the response, “You know why I like you so much? You took the time to let me know you didn’t have any immediate needs, and you did it in the nicest way possible. I say that because at the same time I got an e mail from someone in EPA who doesn’t know me, but I know him and some of his contentiousness. Sure enough, he told me to get lost in a not so diplomatic way. I just thought I’d let you know that the testimony of Christ living in you is evident for the world to see. I’ve seen it for years.” I was amazed.
Glinda sings the first verse of the song, For Good:
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you
People are changed around us because of our communication—whether in an email or in a magazine article or in a phone conversation.
Are we changing people for good?