For Good

Because I knew you

All of life’s riddles are answered in musical theater*. In this case, For Good, from Wicked.

Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine. They wanted to get in touch with an old friend of theirs. The two had been really close for a time, but then the friend inexplicably pulled away. I knew that other person less well, but I, too, recognized the unexplained pulling away.

So I’ve been there. Haven’t you? For several reasons, one old friend is at the top of my mind, which has generated an oppressive degree of melancholy in me. When I heard this Tiny Desk concert of four songs from the show performed by Alyssa Fox and McKenzie Kurtz, it was the last song that struck me. It’s because Stephen Schwartz, who was at the piano, told the process of writing the song (at 17:26), which involved him asking his daughter what she would say to her best friend if she knew she would never see her again. Then he wrote it down.

I’ve heard For Good several times. My wife and I saw Wicked at Proctors Theatre in November 2012. Yet I HEARD the song differently this time, probably because of Schwartz’s story.

Elphaba and Glinda

I am recommending this to my friend, and myself.

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…

It well may be
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

*The actual quote is, “All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” It’s from the 1991 film Grand Canyon and is spoken by the character played by Steve Martin.

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