Last night, I took my mother, sister-in-law, and friends to see Wicked. It was the fourth time I’ve seen the production, and If you’ve never seen the it, I encourage you, no I implore you, to run, don’t walk, to the nearest theater at which it is playing. For those who, like myself, read the book and were left shaking your head and wondering what on earth all of the hype is about, trust me. The play is a beautiful celebration of friendship that you don’t want to miss and will never forget. Rather than rehashing to story of Dorothy from Kansas, Wicked tells the tale of the deep and abiding friendship of Dorothy’s good and beautiful guardian, Glinda, and Dorothy’s archenemy, the Wicked Witch of the West, known in the book and play as Elphaba. The most dramatic and pivotal scene is when Elphaba, after casting a spell on an ordinary broom, gains the ability to fly and takes off for the Westernmost reaches of Oz. However, the climax is when the best friends, Glinda and Elphaba, tell each other goodbye.
Elphaba laments that she is limited in her abilities to do good, to save the world, which was all she ever wanted to do. She has been cast as the villain, and she tells Glinda that she must now figure out how to save Oz from an evil which is overtaking it in the form of the Wizard (not the good guy Frank L. Baum led you to believe he was). The two friends sing about how their meeting and subsequent friendship is like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun, a stream that shifts when it meets a boulder, a seed dropped by a bird in a distant wood – their friendship is a catalyst for change.
Elphaba says that she has heard that people come into our lives for a reason, that we are led to those who need us, who help us to grow. She and Glinda agree that no matter what has happened in the past or what may happen in the future, their friendship has changed them, “For Good.” The song tells us that they are who they are because of knowing each other and that their stories have been rewritten because they are friends (obviously the message of the play).
I can honestly say that I am who I am today because of the people who have crossed my path, because of those I call my friends. My friends influenced who I was a child, as a teen, and as an adult. I’ve had to choose wisely, sometimes letting go of people, even close, dear ones, because their influence wasn’t a catalyst for good in my life. I look back and see where I need to seek forgiveness and where old resentments no longer matter. I can look around me and see who has changed me for the better both as friends and colleagues. Many years ago, I met a gal from church who became my very best friend and has continues to be a major force in my life. A few years later, I met the mother of one of Rebecca’s classmates, and now I have two best friends who have changed my life and my understanding of friendship. Almost a year ago, a whole new group of people came into my life. I never thought, when first meeting this group, that they would have such a profound impact on me. A seed was definitely dropped in a distant wood, and its roots took hold and sprouted into a wonderful new life.
I can’t begin to express what it means to me to know that I have friends who have been there for my entire life. I have friendships that have deepened over the past twenty years, and I have new friendships that have such strong bonds, I can scarcely believe that we just met. What I can express is best summed up by the words of Glinda and Elphaba, “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
Jesus told His disciples, “Follow me,” and they left the lives they knew and followed Him. Never could they have imagined what awaited them or the world. They felt an instant connection, and sometimes, if we are among the very luckiest, we find that same connection with others. Just as the disciples did, we find our stories being rewritten because someone came into our lives. My wish is that all of my girls are lucky enough to find those relationships, in marriage and in friendship, the ones that change their lives “for good.”
Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her latest book, Whispering Vines, is now available for purchase.
You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.