The Line

Anybody who knows me understands what this Blahg is about, but if you’re not one of those people let me fill you in: This is where I talk about anything that strikes my fancy, but doesn’t really fit into a neat category. I might spew about how much I hate Netflix (or possibly AT&T), how Stephen Sondheim being a colossal “failure” is actually inspirational, how I called it when Esperanza Spalding was going to win Best New Artist, or even how being Scottish doesn’t impede my funkiness.

Today, I have to write about something that isn’t fun. Yes, I’m “late to the party” on this one, but there’s a reason for that. See, today’s post is about Corey Monteith.

Corey Monteith

The Short Version

Just in case you have no idea who I am talking about, here’s a summary from Wikipedia:

Cory Allan Michael Monteith (May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013) was a Canadian actor and musician, best known for his role as Finn Hudson on the Fox television series Glee. Born in Calgary, Alberta, and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Monteith had a troubled adolescence involving substance abuse from age 12; he left school at age 16. After an intervention by family and friends, he entered drug rehabilitation at age 19.

As an actor based in British Columbia, he had minor roles on television series before an audition tape of him singing “Can’t Fight This Feeling” helped to land him the biggest role of his career, Finn on Glee. Following his success on Glee, Monteith’s film work included the movie Monte Carlo and a starring role in Sisters & Brothers. In a 2011 interview with Parade magazine, he discussed his history of substance abuse as a teen, and in March 2013, he again sought treatment for addiction. On July 13, 2013, he died of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room.

There. Two paragraphs summing up a life. TWO!

If you note the date of his death, you see he died back in July.  So, why am I writing about this now?

I have been working in musical theatre in one form or another since my early teens. I just love it. So, when the television show Glee started I tuned in. I was, of course, excited about a mainstream television show bringing theatrical music to the attention of younger audiences, but the general enthusiasm of the show captivated me. We don’t have cable anymore so I never watched the show live, and I didn’t even watch it weekly. I usually watched in spurts via Hulu. Yeah, i have issues with the show, but those aren’t the topic here. Here is where I get to tell you about the dream I had.

I don’t often have memorable dreams. It isn’t unusual for me to not remember the dream at all. But several weeks ago, I dreamt of Corey Monteith.

Then a couple of weeks later it happened again. Same dream.

Last night it happened again.

All I can remember from the first dream is that I’m standing somewhere, Monteith turns a corner and I see him. As he’s walking past me he say’s, “What’s up, James?” I turn to watch him walk away, but he walks over to a bed and lays face down and dies.

The second dream was the same.

The third dream was the same, except this time as he walks past me he says, “What’s up, James? What are you waiting for?” Then he walks over to the bed, lays down and dies.

The Quarterback

So, tonight, I had an hour off (WHAT?!?!?) and I decided to watch the Glee “tribute” episode, The Quarterback.

This isn’t the time for critiquing, but it was hard to watch. One scene in particular caught my attention as horrible acting, but, at the same time, I could tell that what was going on was more about not breaking down and just getting through the scene. There were many relatable moments, but I want to talk about two of them.

Jane Lynch’s “Sue Sylvester is, without question, one of the funniest villains of all  time, but, as was true with so many moments in this show, there was a scene where Sue Sylvester disappeared and it felt like Jane Lynch saying “There’s no lesson here. There’s no happy ending. There’s nothing. He’s just gone. It’s just so pointless. All that potential.”

Similarly, in a scene where Mark Sailing’s “Noah Puckerman” is replanting the Finn Hudson Memorial Tree, he notes the plaque on the ground which reads:

Finn Hudson 1994 - 2013

Finn Hudson 1994 – 2013

Puckerman says, “The thing that’s tripping me out is this line right here between the two years… It’s his whole life right there. Everything that happened to him is in that line.” Coach Beiste replies, “What are you gonna do with your line now, Puckerman?”

The Moment

Yes, I cried through virtually every second of this episode. It was heartbreaking. I wept for Corey, for Lea, for the cast, for wasted potential, for lost dreams, for the fog that inevitably creeps in to haunt the lives of every person in Corey’s life that will keep them asking “what if?” forever, for all the others drowning in addiction because there are things they don’t know how to deal with, for the ones who look down their noses at those addicts – especially the ones who seems like they have every reason to live, the fame, the fortune, success, etc. – but don’t see the tragedy and loss… I wept for all of those things.

And then I remembered my dream.

What’s up, James? What are you waiting for?

Weird, huh?

So I leave you with this question, the same one I will be asking myself every day of my life from now on.

What are you going to do with your line?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “The Line

  1. James, so well said. Corey and so many others like him leave us to ponder that question. I think there are two lessons here: one is your topic, the other is that we never know when the person standing opposite us smiling and saying everything is fine is merely putting on a game face and crying out silently for help. We should pray for discernment to recognize false bravado, courage to confront it, wisdom to point the person toward help that often we ourselves are not trained to provide though we want to desperately, and mostly for Christ to speak through us for only He can touch their pain and bring them comfort.