James Corden is my favorite late night television show host. His antics on The Late Late Show frequently find me laughing until I can’t breathe and fighting back tears. Corden’s recent socially-distanced episode, “Homefest: A Late Late Show Special,” was no different, but I found myself tearing for a reason I never expected.
In the Sullivan household, watching The Late Late Show is a family affair. At 10:00 pm we were parked on the couch for the special with our quarantine snacks of choice (vanilla ice cream and a steaming cup of tea for me).
I was impressed by how Corden deftly and delicately addressed the crisis at hand with honesty and hope, while video chatting with some of the world’s most renowned singers, magicians, and comedians, all from his makeshift garage studio. A thick lump formed in my throat when Andrea Bocelli obliterated “Time to Say Goodbye” from his home piano in Tuscany, interspersed with footage of Italians dancing on their balconies. I swallowed hard and powered through.
Dear Evan Hansen
Before the final commercial break, Corden said he would close the program with a performance (not previously announced) from the cast of the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. If I had not already drained my mug of decaf Lady Grey, I know I would have choked on it.
Since discovering the soundtrack to Dear Evan Hansen on YouTube nearly two years ago, I have desperately wanted to see the show. It centers around Evan Hansen, a 17-year-old high school misfit who wants nothing more than to be wanted. I had a hunch that The Late Late Show would feature the show’s powerhouse anthem, the lyrics of which had swirled aimlessly amid my mind for the last two-and-a-half weeks of self-quarantine.
Sure enough, Corden virtually introduced myriad self-quarantined members, past and present, of the Dear Evan Hansen Broadway cast to sing “You Will Be Found.”
Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you felt forgotten, in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear.
Oh, someone will come running and I know,
They’ll take you home.
Even when the dark comes crashing through,
when you need a friend to carry you,
and when you’re broken on the ground,
you will be found.
Hard to Find God
During these last few weeks of the rampant coronavirus, the skydiving economy, the suspension of the sacraments, and the host of other crises, it has been really hard for me to find God. I’ve seen God pull good out of suffering, and I know He is already doing the same right now. And though the stories of human solidarity have inspired my head, they have not made me feel a whole lot closer to Him in my heart.
The words of this song showed me where I’ve gone wrong. I have been trying to find Him. And I cannot go to all the places that I usually look. I cannot go to Mass. I cannot go to Confession. I cannot go to adoration. I cannot even sit before the red flame illuminating a golden tabernacle in an empty church.
I cannot find Him. But in that instant, I realized: I have to let Him find me. I have to abandon my hopes, my plans, my designs for how to encounter Him and just sit and let Him find me.
My heroine in Heaven St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote: “I am not always faithful, but I never get discouraged. I abandon myself into the arms of Jesus and there, find again all that I have lost and much more besides.”
The Two Words
Through late-night television, the Lord gave me the two words that I know He wants me to pray during this trial: find me.
When I am anxious, hopeless, and despairing,
When I worry that I will live a shorter earthly life than I had hoped,
When I fear that those I love most will suffer and leave me for God’s arms,
When I despair that I’ve loved Him well enough to merit eternal life,
And with everything I am, everything I have, and from the deepest core of my being I know, He will find me.
Theresa Sullivan is the digital media strategist for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. This story first appeared on the diocese’s weblog.