Broadway musicals have found their way onto the playlist in my house a lot recently. Not for any particular reason. Maybe because they’re catchy, often upbeat, fun to sing along with, tend to conjure up pleasant memories… do you really need a reason for listening to show tunes? Doubtful. Anyway, as many times as I’ve heard it before, this line in For Good from Wicked has really stuck with me recently:
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good
If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s basically the story of the two witches in the Wizard of Oz prior to that famous story. Glinda (the Good Witch) and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch) are classmates and friends for a while, until they chose different paths. This song is sung as they are parting ways. It’s a song about the end of a friendship. About how our lives are shaped by relationships, both those that last– and those that don’t.
Because they don’t all last, you know. Sometimes, like Glinda and Elphaba we make choices that render our paths incompatible. Other times our geography changes and we learn the whole thing was mostly about proximity. Occasionally, we have no idea exactly what changed or shifted– only that something did, irreparably.
Some of these endings slide by without much notice. Others feel wide and gaping and raw. Most fall somewhere in the grey in-between. I think what struck me about the line in this song, is how succinctly it expressed the idea that no matter what, we are changed by the people who come into our lives. Whether for forever, or for a season, we’re part of each other’s story. Which feels sort of comforting to me, somehow.
Because I knew you …