One of my favorite musicals is Man of La Mancha. It’s a beautiful picture of grace and redemption. If you’re not familiar with Don Quixote’s crazy quest and impossible dream, let me summarize it for you. Alright, channel your inner Fresh Prince fan and rap it out, Will Smith Style (Seriously. That’s the tune and there’s video proof of me rapping it somewhere out there).
Now this is my favorite story I’ve heard,
about a man of La Mancha and a little bird.
I’d like to take a second, just hang with me,
I’ll tell you all about a knight named Don Quixote.
In the south of Spain, born and crazed,
is a man with a dream and a girl to be saved.
Fighting off giants and redeeming the lost,
he found Aldonza workin’ as an inkeepers prost’.
When a couple of guys tried to pay her for sex,
he fought them off with his words and love of a hex.
After one short sight and exchange of some words,
his love for her makes them all think he is absurd.
He named her Dulcinea, meaning his “sweet one,”
she refuses to accept it ’cause she feels like scum.
DQ is convinced he is destined for this quest,
and continues to believe in his woeful quest.
– badada dun dun dun –
He fought hard for a cause no one else saw fit,
but it paid off in the end when she could admit.
Dulcinea is her name and he can now rest
because he never stopped following he impossible quest.
A trivia night in college introduced me to Don Quixote. The rest is history, we’ve been tight ever since. I see so much of God ‘s love in how Don Quixote views Aldonza. She is this precious woman, beautiful inside and out, worth far more than the silver the men at the bar are willing to pay for one night. She fights it for far too long, until she finally starts to believe she is Dulcinea, this valued maiden worthy of a knight’s love.
Isn’t that how we all feel? I certainly have been there. Believing the lies that I am too far gone. That God won’t give me the time of day or love at me as much, because I did something too big to forgive. That’s just not true. We have to hit a breaking point where we finally see ourselves as worthy and loved, in spite of our flaws. We have to accept it the way Dulcinea (Aldonza) finally accepted Don Quixote’s love and ideas about her.
This is what I want these women who have been through trafficking and exploitation to know. This is how I want them to see themselves, with value and worth and dignity. I want them to move from an Aldonza mindset to embracing their inherent identity as Dulcinea, God’s “sweet one”.