Sometime over Christmas break as I queued up the Hamilton music soundtrack for the 4,327th time, Daisy asks me how long ago the musical came out. Not thinking much of it, I casually suggest about a year as an answer. Daisy stares at me quite shocked and demands to know why in the world we are just listening to it now!
So yeah, I may be a bit behind in the Hamilton mania, but trust me, I have fully embraced it and am full-on fangirling 24/7 these days. While I’ve been aware of Hamilton’s existence for a while now (my sister played the soundtrack for us this summer on our camping/hiking trip this summer), it wasn’t until the Trump/Pence/Hamilton cast twitter controversy where I wanted to find out what this show was all about anyway. The first time I listened to the soundtrack of this show that details the life of founding father (and $10 bill guy) Alexander Hamilton, I fell hard. And I have drug my family into the mania too. Just last week on Christmas break, Daisy asked her Gran if she had heard of Hamilton and when was given a disappointing answer proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes (with a bit of help from me, I admit), telling Gran about the amazing music, storyline, actors, and history behind the phenomenon that is Hamilton.
It is at this point in my blogging today that I must urge you with all sincerity, to click away and listen to the wonder that is the Hamilton soundtrack. And I trust that at some point you’ll make your way back to finish this blog post, even if it is after listening 20 or so times, watching Hamilton YouTube videos 37 pages deep, pondering your own reading of Ron Chernow’s Hamilton biography that started it all, viewing the original White House presentation that led to the musical’s creation, reading the Wikipedia page of not only the musical but the historical characters presented within, gleaning whatever you can from the myriad of interviews with creator Lin Manuel-Miranda, swooning over the mixtape, and watching the incredible PBS documentary of the show at least three times. (Um…so yeah…this may have all been done by me. When I fan girl, I fan-girl hard.)
These few months following the election of Trump have been tough ones for me and I have been thankful for this piece of artwork that feels relevant and challenging and beautiful at the same time. There is a line in a song near the end of act one, following the battle of Yorktown where the cast stands on boxes, arms stretched wide, and boldly declares that the “world turned upside down.” Is there a better way to describe how the end of 2016 felt? Everything is upside down. I thought I understood our country, our systems, our safety nets, our press. I was so naive.
Coming to grips with this new understanding, I have wanted to return to this space to tell stories and share thoughts and maybe even laugh a little bit together. But everything has felt so disingenuous. How can I share a silly anecdote or a theological pondering when everything around me appears to be falling apart? When dear friends and unknown strangers are living in fear and grief, myself included?
At my best I remind myself that it is the local politics that matter, that my family and friends are healthy, that there are blessings of new life all around, that people are still good, and that God is still faithful. At my worst I lament a system that I put too much trust in and that I know is about to change drastically in ways I’m not sure I’m prepared for. I am learning where my grief and worry should turn inward—towards prayer and study and reflection and conversation that leads my heart to trust more fully in God than in empire; and where my grief and worry should turn outward—towards rallies and letters and conversations and real work. I am not laying down. I am not waiting to see how it all turns out. I am not seeking unity at the expense of justice. Instead, I am daily recommitting to walking humbly, loving mercy, and seeking justice.
So I’m not expecting to write some political post that goes viral anytime soon, but I know I’ve got a lot I need to say. So here I’ll be, striving to be honest about my real life in the midst of the everyday and the midst of the massive. I hope you’ll join me, the comments are always open.
After all, history has its eyes on us!