Fantine is admired for her love and self-sacrifice for her child, not condemned for her foolishness. For though we can easily identify her foolishness, it is not so easily spotted by us in our own journeys. Rather, we can see only our motivations, and our disposition toward people and God as cynical or trusting. And with Fantine we know that God can make up for foolishness as He does in the rest of the novel. Just as when I was working with my sons painting a room, the point was “being together” and their willingness to work alongside me. No attention to detail on their part or productivity on their part. I would ensure the work was done well.
As a high school junior, I was given advice from my father to look out for myself, because if “I don’t take care of number 1, no one else will.” Most people I know, live that way every day. You can tell it in their conversation, their attention and their public conduct (that manner by which people conduct themselves when they can remain rather anonymous). Regretfully, I live that way most often – that is obvious enough and you can take my word for it I am sure. This way of living is not something toward which we need to be advised. This advice is “preaching to the choir.”
But there are those moments when I find myself gazing at greater vistas. When I laugh at myself, or forget about myself, and long for something beyond the animal pattern, then I find beauty and truth in eternal purpose and eternal impact. At these times, it is that I find myself in step with the God who deep-loves me.
On the outside, I can put on a good show, but on the inside normally I have reactionary moments of cynicism, judgment and self-preservation that seem to me mundane and automated as I sit here reflecting. But Ahhh! Those wonderful abandonments of forgetting about those near needs. It’s as close to an “out of body” experience that I have ever come while awake. The joy is in mimicking God’s love for me, not even in the effects or feedback from the actions. The joy comes by participating in freedom and flying with Him. I can participate any time, and in company or all by myself. God will make up for my foolishness.