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A Dream & The Greatest Showman

I recently joined my wife and some of our children at a local theater to see the movie, The Greatest Showman. The movie is a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. It begins when Barnum is a boy. He is the son of a poor tailor who does work for a wealthy man. The man looks down on Barnum and his father, because of their lower-class status.

Barnum is a fun-loving boy who is infatuated with the wealthy man’s daughter. The man knows that Barnum likes his daughter and makes it clear to Barnum that he’ll never be good enough for her. After that, the daughter is sent to finishing school for several years. While she is away at school, she and Barnum continue to keep in contact by writing letters to each other.

Years later, when the daughter returns home from school, she is reunited with Barnum. They end up getting married and starting a family. After borrowing money from a local bank, Barnum buys an old museum building in downtown Manhattan. He then sets up Barnum’s American Museum, which showcases wax figures.

After struggling to make his new business work, Barnum’s children tell him that instead of featuring wax figures, he needs to have characters who are “alive.” Barnum likes the idea and begins searching for and hiring “freaks” to serve as performers. As he is rounding up his new cast of characters, Barnum sings the unique and mesmerizing song, Come Alive.

As Barnum’s new show gains popularity in New York, a reporter for the New York Herald is highly critical of Barnum and his “freak show.” The reporter’s columns about Barnum and his show stir up trouble among certain people in the community, including the upper-class members of the community.

To enhance his reputation with the upper-class, Barnum convinces Philip Carlisle, a local playwright from a wealthy family, to join him in his business. To raise Barnum’s status, Carlisle arranges a trip to Europe for Barnum and his cast of characters to meet Queen Victoria.

At the event where Barnum meets the queen, he is introduced to Jenny Lind, a famous Swedish singer. Lind reveals to Barnum that she knows of his reputation as a scoundrel. Using his charm, Barnum persuades Lind to come to America to perform.

Lind’s first American performance is in New York and is a rousing success. The first song that she sings is Never Enough. Here are the lyrics to the first half of Never Enough:

I’m trying to hold my breath
Let it stay this way
Can’t let this moment end
You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me?
‘Cause darling without you

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the nightsky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough

For me*

During the song, Barnum scans the audience and sees the reporter from the New York Herald. At that moment, he realizes that it is Lind who will finally help him to become acceptable to the upper class. After the show, Barnum becomes Lind’s manager and arranges a tour for her to perform throughout America.

While on tour, Lind falls in love with Barnum. When he realizes that Lind has feelings for him, Barnum tells her that it’s time for him to go home to his family. Lind becomes angry and tells him that she is going to quit the tour and return home to Europe. Barnum is devastated by Lind’s decision and pleads with her to stay and finish the tour.

During her next performance, Lind sings her trademark song, Never Enough, for the last time. At the end of the song, she invites Barnum to join her on stage. When he walks over to her, she kisses him on the lips. The kiss is captured by photographers and is later featured on the front pages of all the newspapers throughout America, which causes problems for Barnum when he returns home.

A couple of weeks after I saw the movie, I listened to the soundtrack of the music that was in the movie. It was then that I realized that the song, Never Enough, could easily be the anthem for every Catholic.

When we were conceived, Almighty God created within our souls a dream. That dream was enhanced when we were baptized, and was later reinforced when we were confirmed. It is that dream that has always provided us with the desire to seek out God, and to want to someday enter into His Kingdom for all eternity.

How is that we can achieve that dream? We must take God’s hand every day and follow Him. If we do that, as each day passes, the dream will get louder and echo within us. But if we attempt to go through life without Him, all the shine of a thousand spotlights and all the stars we steal from the nightsky, will never be enough. If we seek out and obtain towers of gold, without God, it will not be enough. Even if we are able to hold the world in our hands, without God, it will never be enough.

It always amazes me that with all the music that has ever been created, there’s still an unlimited number of meaningful songs that can and will be created in the future. The creative ability of God’s children is endless. Yet each new beautiful song that is created can always be used to give glory to God, just as I have been able to show that Never Enough can be used to give glory to God.

Every time you hear a beautiful song, praise God, because He is the Author of all life and of all that is beautiful.


*You need to hear Never Enough to appreciate how powerful it really is. You can click here to listen to the song.

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One Response to “A Dream & The Greatest Showman”

  1. Sister Roberta Houlihan, CSJ Says:

    Dear Georgette and Harry – Once again, your story brings back some of my own experiences with songs: As a Novice, we spent time before the exposed Blessed Sacrament on the First Sunday of each month. I was praying on the kneeler one Sunday, and Eddie Cantor’s theme song came to me; I sang it in my heart, but changed the words from “I want to spend each Wednesday with you…” to “I want to spend my lifetime with You… This became one of my regular prayer-songs! If you are old enough to have listened to Eddie Cantor’s program each Wednesday night, as our family did, you will recognize his theme song. There were no TV’s as I grew up. The radio was the source of our news and programs for entertainment. Thank you, Harry, for these memories that your story brought back to me! Love and prayers to you both and to your family! Sister Roberta

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