Words so simple and so few direct our life channel.
Fantine is left in her secret pain perceiving her own helplessness.
Since Hugo gives the child as a reason why she was crying, it does seem as if she knew this before Tholomyes abandoned her. And whether he was or was not aware, it was a cruel thing to do, and even more so because he was fully aware of Fantine’s innocence heretofore. The vice is not in the drinking itself or the carousing itself or the hedonism itself, as though some particular action is evil. Rather, the vice is in the neglect of love and respect for God’s image in other human lives around. It is a matter of the heart, and it is an affront to the goodness of God’s creation to act as though we self-exist and exist only for ourselves.
But here Fantine is thankfully spared the full realization of her sad future as she laughs on the outside (still trying to keep pace with her ill-chosen crowd) cries when she is alone. Still, she would have been aware that her life channel was set circumstantially.
I remember a Larry Crabb quote that has stuck with me for more than 20 years: “People are hurting more than you really know.” I believe this to be true, but only because we don’t listen well. When I pay attention to the habits of others around us, I am sensitized to their pain, and most people seems to have it. Even in hollow greetings and trite exchanges there are telltales.
Why do people hurt? Because they are unloved and disrespected, and their actions only serve to isolate them further from the fulfillment of their desires. So they cover over their pain with distractions and circumstances that will keep their brains actively processing the mundane instead of contemplating the profound. When we are alone, having to wait without a way to distract, it shows.
In the middle of the night we find ourselves alone with a few simple thoughts that should not bother us in the light of day. Psalm 4 speaks of our trouble and His gladness in the night time hours:
Tremble and do not sin. Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. Offer the sacrifice of righteousness and trust in the Lord.
Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O LORD!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.
The safety is not from the thief or assailant. The safety is knowing that we are loved and respected – even highly valued and delighted in. In being alone we can best see what He alone can do.