Saturday, October 1, 2016

That Hamilton Thing

Image credit: Wikipedia

For months I didn't quite understand the Hamilton hype. I knew it was special, and that the unique decision to have women and people of color tell the story was groundbreaking, but I didn't get why so many people loved the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. In fact I must confess, when Roffey began playing the Hamilton soundtrack around the house, I thought, "ok. This sounds decent. I don't hate it." I loved the concept of the play; I love Lin-Manuel Miranda....but I had nothing to connect it to my heart. Then my son Jason decided to sing "Wait For It" with his friend for the talent show. He began singing the lyrics to practice, and listening to that one song over and over. One line caught me: "If there's a reason I'm still alive when everyone who loves me has died, I'm willing to wait for it."
I've lost my Dad and two of my brothers, and lately, my mother has been sick. That line stabbed me, drove straight into my heart, and left me on my knees. I drove around bawling to that song, to that one line. I ran to it, slapping my feet to its rhythm.
I began to listen to other parts of the story. The connection between Burr and Hamilton began to dawn on me, where one of them took the loss of their family and turned that into driving ambition and no fear of what people thought, and for the other it led to caution and fear of wasting a legacy or a life. I could identify with both, they're both familiar kinds of grief.
Most people most likely fall for Hamilton for the drama, or the music, or the love stories or the history; I fell for the pain, that feels so similar to mine. And most importantly, the hope in the middle of that--"Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now."
How lucky we are to be alive right now.
Suddenly the story was so much more than a theatrical rendering of a founding father. It was a testimony to what we can do with grief-- let our light burn out, as it did for Hamilton after his son died, or use it to reach for the stars and go for it (so long as we don't stand still, a la Burr.) The moral of the lesson: do not throw away your shot.
Slay At Home Mom's Brothers

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