Gift #1108: Transformations

Happy Halloween!!  For nine years my mom and I have built a tradition of going to our downtown cemetery during Halloween for an organ concert and a tour of the cemetery.  It is a grand old cemetery, founded in 1866 and home to Civil War and Revolutionary War veterans.  It is filled with decaying limestone monuments and ancient trees.  It has a long tradition of being an open park within the city where families and friends come to gather for picnics, biking, hiking, appreciating nature, and contemplating the deep questions of life.   I love spending time here.  We like to get there early in the afternoon and spend hours driving around or walking through our favorite places and relishing the beauty and peace this sanctuary offers.


The concert is held in a restored Gothic Chapel from the 1870s and is a fun program of lighthearted Halloween classics performed by an organist and 2 singers.  The program has a few minor changes each year, but many of the songs are the same and the concert now falls into a well-loved and pleasant repetition that I anticipate with joy.  Over the years one song in particular stands out to me.  When I first heard it all those years ago, I hated it and found it disturbing.  But the singer who performed it consistently sang with such passion and urgency that the song transformed itself in my heart and after several years it became my favorite of the program.  It is “Transformation” from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and is the song that chronicles Jekyll’s hopes and dreams, his taking of the formula, how it affects him, and how he becomes his own worst nightmare.  Lurking beneath the lyrics is a story that hits closer to home than we’re comfortable admitting.  It’s hard to explain, but our performer made this song so beautiful, so haunting, that I would ache when he would sing it.  I’ve included some of the lyrics below.

I must be wise,
I must try to analyze
Each change in me,
Everything I see –
How will it be?
Will I see the world
Through different eyes?
Like a warning light,
Glimmering in red,
Like crimson bloodshed,
Shimmering in red,
Beautiful and strange,
See the colors change
Before my eyes!
See how they dance
And they sparkle,
Like diamonds at night –
Leading out of the darkness
And into the light!
Three fifty-eight a.m. It is done. I have injected 5 centiliters of the newly fused formula.
A slight feeling of euphoria. Light-headedness. No noticeable behavioral differences.
Now the die is cast!
Nothing left to do…
Time along can prove
My theories true…
Show the world…
Dear God! What is this?
Something is happening –
I can’t explain –
Something inside me –
A breathtaking pain –
Devours and consumes me –
And drives me insane!
Suddenly –
Uncontrolled –
Something is
Taking hold!
Suddenly –
Agony –
Filling me!
Killing me!
Suddenly –
Out of breath!
What is this?
Is this death?
Suddenly –
Look at me! –
Can it be?
Who is this
That I see?
This year, this song took on a heightened level of meaning that I never could have foreseen.  For you see, our beloved Phantom singer, Eric Wickens, passed away suddenly just 2 months ago.  Though I did not know him personally, I had come to love him through his voice and his performances and I knew this year would be hard without him.  His presence was everywhere, but nowhere more evident than when this song was sung.   I thought about Eric, about how this song speaks on a different plane of a transformation from life to death.. or, perhaps, of death to life.  I wonder on the other side of these earthly shadows how we will see the world through different eyes.  Scripture speaks of death as the moment when our eyes see clearly for the first time as we see through God’s perspective.  It is the moment when our faith is made sight and we understand that all we’ve known has been shadows of the real reality.
Though Jekyll’s song ends in tragedy, ours doesn’t have to.  Like Jekyll, we all face choices that impact who we will be when our eyes open for the first time in eternity.  As my favorite author C.S. Lewis says, we’re all becoming either angels or demons.  We are all transforming.  And when we draw our last breath, our transformation will be complete.  The song was a powerful reminder to me that God’s grace and mercy has promised to rescue us from sin and death and that death is not the end of our song.  With faith in His love and provision, when we leave this world, we have His assurance that we wake in His likeness.  He will lead us out of the darkness and into the light.
Blessings to you,


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1 Response to Gift #1108: Transformations

  1. Adam says:

    This was inspirational to me and an important reminder about how the choices we make now, while we are living here, will impact us for all eternity. It’s about how we respond to the reality that is going on around us as we live each present moment. We make so many choices everyday and it adds up for better or worse. May we choose wisely and become as angels. Thank you Sarah!

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