Tuck Everlasting is a novel by Natalie Babbit. It has been adapted into a musical with music by Chris Miller and lyrics by Nathan Tysen. This post addresses both the book and the musical.
Synopsis (with Spoilers): My youngest daughter and I acquired tickets to the musical Tuck Everlasting. We both decided to read the book before we attended the musical.
Tuck Everlasting is a story about a young girl (10 in the book and around 13 in the musical) who feels stifled by her overprotected mother. She is so frustrated one day that she leaves her fenced in yard (against the rules) and sneaks into the forest. There she sees a teen boy drinking from a spring. She wants to drink as well, but the teen boy kidnaps her. He takes her deep in the forest to a house occupied by his family.
There she learns their history. They drank out of the spring many years ago and are now incapable of being injured or even dying. They want to keep the spring a secret because of the implications of knowing how to achieve immortality.
There is a lot of drama/murder/fighting, but these details are different from the book to musical adaptation. The main plot of both is the friendship between the girl and the family. The boy asks her to wait until she is 17-years-old to drink out of the spring. Then they can be together forever and travel the world. His family members give her the pros and cons (mainly cons) of being everlasting, and she has to make this decision on her own.
The book ends with the family around her gravesite reminiscing about their time together, and the book doesn’t go into any detail why she chooses not to be everlasting. The musical, however, has an excellent ballet scene that shows her entire life. For this reason, I enjoyed the musical better. The teen boy asked her to experience life with him being everlasting, but she realized that experiencing life includes all stages of life.
Discussion with child: The overall theological aspect you could discuss is explaining to your child the primary purpose of life is eternal life with our Creator in heaven. I have already addressed this point in a past post.
I left the play with a new-found enjoyment of experiencing life at every stage. To experience life to the fullest every day regardless of my current situation. To waking up every day and recognizing the blessing in just being alive. I get to live another day on earth and to experience joy or give joy to another. Even in our suffering:
I wonder how a soul that has sounded the depths of love the Heart of God has for it could be anything but joyful in every suffering and sorrow. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
When I look back at my life, I recognize that I am always looking to the next stage:
Can’t wait until I am a year older?
Can’t wait to drive?
Can’t wait to get out of college and start a job?
Can’t wait until I have kids?
Can’t wait until my kids are out of diapers – walking – dressing themselves – able to clean the house thoroughly – out of the house . . .
Can’t wait until retirement when I won’t be so busy or stressed all the time.
Recently my 3 children have been sick, and they continue to pass it to each other. I keep looking forward to a healthy family instead of enjoying the one on one time I have had with each kid on their sick day home from school.
I anticipate the future and never sit in the present with all of the blessings or stresses of today. I continue to anticipate what God will give me in the future. However, this future is what I want for the future. It never ends up being as I planned as God always has had different plans for me compared to myself.
Let us enjoy the “appointed time for everything” and meditate on Ecclesiastes 3:1-15:
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
What advantage has the worker from his toil? I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life. For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God. I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. Thus has God done what he may be revered. What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced.