Saturday, June 7, 2008


Another aspect of human pain I see within the Phantom of the Opera is that of loss. It is part of the human condition, and it visits each of us one way or the other as we walk this earth. We can lose things, relationships, and loved ones. Each instance of loss carries disappointment, but some instances of loss carry great pain and suffering. Loss affects our lives deeply. It steals our joy, ruins our hope, and brings despondency to our hearts. In dealing with the pain, we can lose part of ourselves in the process as well.

What losses are woven into the story of the Phantom of the Opera? Leroux speaks of Christine’s loss as a child that stole the song from her heart. “She seemed to have lost with him {her father}, her voice, her soul and her genius.” It affected the way she looked at life, for “…she acquired a distaste of everything in life, including her art.” Raoul suffered a series of personal family losses. Then, of course, Erik lost Christine to Raoul. The tale is filled with instances of loss, not only touching the main characters, but also others as you look behind their stories.

Loss is simply something we once possessed that is no longer ours. We can lose things that may be important to us, but things can be replaced simply by buying another. We can lose relationships, but relationships can usually be replaced as others come across our path and into our lives to fill the void. However, it is the losses in our lives that are irreplaceable that affect us the deepest. In those losses, we have the potential of losing part of ourselves in the process of dealing with them.

What helps us through loss? Often it takes others intervening in our lives to restore that part of us lost in the process of grieving. For Christine, the Angel of Music returned her desire to sing, giving back her voice and birthing in her the genius to be a great singer. Through a series of personal heartaches, I lost the desire to write for many years, until I came across a dear mentor who flamed the smoldering ashes in my heart pushing me to pick up a pen. In a similar way, I lost my laughter, until recently when another individual touched me through simple written words on a page that made me laugh.

Though we all have losses in our lives, we all have much to gain in the process of restoration, such as comfort, new friends, and kindness shown to us by others. In our own losses, we also have opportunities to give back to others who experience the same losses we have. We learn to weep with those who weep, and ultimately comfort others with the same comfort given to us. I truly believe, as well, that through our darkest loss in life, our own greatest achievements are born from within our souls.

Another post to reflect upon.

The Phantom’s Student

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