More than once.
When I was in sixth grade I had a horrible teacher. Think Snape--except without the forgiving back story. I was depressed. I was suicidal.
My parents were fairly oblivious. I didn't think I could tell them anything. But they knew I was unhappy. They sent me to my aunt and uncle for a week. Where my aunt and uncle saved my life.
They took me to a show. A national tour of Man of La Mancha. While I had seen several musicals--growing up in a suburb of New York City-- this was the first one I climbed in and lived in. After that, no conversation was had without me bringing up Man of La Mancha. Which was my favorite song today? Then I would play it over and over --rewinding the cassette a myriad of times (because of course I had it on cassette since MP3s were decades away). I memorized the entire book of the musical. I read Don Quixote (a fairly bad translation) when I was 12 years old. I read biographies of Don Miguel de Cervantes. I took comfort from the fact that even when everyone laughed at Don Quixote and beat him and turned away from him--he still followed the Impossible Dream. It made me believe that I could go on and do it to.
I got through the rest of the school year. I think part of it was that I told my aunt some of the stuff my teacher said and things got better at home. Things got better.
I'm in a dark place lately. I want to just hold on to my daughter because she makes me laugh. She hugs me and makes me comfortable in a world that has grown increasingly uncomfortable. I then thought of what I used to do when I was uncomfortable and I thought of Man of La Mancha. Got the CD and listened to it. '
And today, today, it is helping me go on. Helping me say that I can follow the quest. No matter how hopeless, no matter how far.
Below is Brian Stokes Mitchell in what I would say is the best version of this.
I will strive with my last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars.