My love for The Greatest Showman movie and soundtrack continues. I play my favorite song, This is Me, every day, and I am uplifted by it each time I listen to it. It moves me and empowers me to live my life boldly, as me.
There is another song on the soundtrack that has captured me as well. Lately I listen to Never Enough and then follow it immediately by This is Me.
This beautiful song is performed by Loren Allred, who provides the singing voice for actress Rebecca Ferguson, who in turn portrays Jenny Lind in the movie. Never Enough makes me feel sad. I have thought about why the song evokes these feelings in me, for several weeks. I’m ready to unpack my thoughts about it tonight.
This film character is based on a real life woman named Jenny Lind. Jenny was a Swedish opera singer whose incredibly beautiful voice earned her the title of The Swedish Nightingale. She was one of the most highly regarded singers in the 19th century, and performed across Europe.
The poster PT Barnum made, promoting Jenny Lind.
She did indeed accept an invitation from PT Barnum, in 1850, to tour the United States, performing in 93 concerts for him. She so impressed American audiences that many shows sold out, and the term Lind Mania was coined.
In The Greatest Showman musical, Jenny is portrayed in all of her glory. She is beautiful and extremely talented. Her voices brings the audience to tears, and to their feet, in appreciation. And, in my opinion, she is the most unhappy character in the story.
Here are the lyrics to her signature song (from the movie):
I’m trying to hold my breath
Let it stay this way
Can’t let this moment end
You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me?
‘Cause Darling without you…
All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the nightsky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough
Never, for me
Watch the video HERE
This song has haunted me. This gorgeous woman, with a voice that brought her fame and fortune, sings from the depth of her heart about life never being enough. It was more than an expression of discontentment. Jenny (in this portrayal) is crying out for someone to share the life she is creating. Without someone to experience it with her, “All the shine of a thousand spotlights (fame), all the stars we steal from the night sky (potential) will never be enough…never be enough. Towers of gold (fortune) are still too little. These hands could hold the world (everything there is) and it’ll never be enough…never be enough.
I can ache for what she feels. But even more, I can identify with it. We all can, which is the appeal of the song. I can especially relate to the opening lyrics, “I’m trying to hold my breath. Let it stay this way, can’t let this moment end.” How often I have wanted to hold onto a moment, feeling the love and security, acceptance and appreciation within it.
However, I have learned. I have learned that holding on to a moment prevents me from noticing and fully experiencing the next moment. It becomes a struggle to maintain and control what I have, fearing if I let it go, let it pass, there won’t be anything more that takes my breath away.
This song makes me sad, because it reminds me of old beliefs that I have had. The reality is that nothing in this world is ever enough, if I am looking for fulfillment and happiness outside of myself. And yet, we search and search and search. Fame, fortune, dreams, desires…and a person to share it all with…is never enough, until we discover who we are and find our own happiness within. Then…we have enough. Then…we can share a life with another without attempting to get what we feel we so desperately need, from them.
In The Greatest Showman, we never see Jenny Lind find what she is searching for. There is a sadness that clings to her, and possibly fuels her great passion as she sings. Contrast her to Lettie Lutz, known as the bearded lady. Lettie has hidden herself away for most of her life. But she discovers who she is. She finds her voice, which is passionate and rich as well. She finds what she is looking for…herself…and her transformation is beautiful and powerful.
The segment of this song that speaks most deeply to me is this part…“You set off a dream with me, getting louder now, can you hear it echoing?” Jenny directs the words toward Barnum, as the creator of this new dream she is experiencing. These lyrics remind me that a couple of years ago, I recognized the voice of the Dream Giver, who was calling to me, inviting me, from just around the river bend. It was an invitation to surrender, to give up trying to control life and release myself to its flow. It was an invitation that ultimately took me deeper within myself, and connected me more strongly to the Divine. That part of the song reminds me that like Lettie, I have found what I was searching for. I found myself.
Two very different songs, Never Enough and This is Me. I will be cheering for the latter song next month as it is performed at the Academy Awards. I hope it wins Best Song in a Motion Picture. I have, however, come to appreciate Never Enough. It reminds me of how far I have come. It is enough. I am enough.