Near the end of the summer the Pastor and I went to Chicago to see Hamilton© the musical. The Pastor had listened to all the songs, knew the story, listened to podcasts about Lin-Manuel Miranda and just about everything you can do to prep for seeing the musical. Then there was me. Did I remember that Aaron Burr shot someone? Yes. Did I remember it was Alexander Hamilton? Maybe. Did I have any idea what role Hamilton played in history or who he was at all? Nope. So I went in blind.
The other thing you should know is that the Pastor has been known to overhype things. Cajun restaurants, songs, TV shows, people. Occasionally he will find something he enjoys so much he is just sure it’s going to be life transforming for me as well. So, you can imagine that while I was thrilled to take him to see the show I wasn’t so sure that this would be the wonder that he had prepared me for.
Score one for the Pastor. Hamilton© is genius. Amazing, incredible, moving. It would be impossible to over hype this thing. Impossible. It is massively creative, funny, tragic, thoughtful and uses the word “afterbirth.” What more could you ask for?
Near the middle of the show there is a song called “What comes next?” It’s about what will happen after the colonies have gained independence. You’ve worked so hard and sacrificed almost everything to get where you wanted to be…and now what? As I have (repeatedly) listened to this soundtrack these words have resonated with me. It’s the beginning of a new year. What now? Where do we go from here?
What comes next?
It holds both prospect and peril. What awaits us on the other side of an accomplishment, an anniversary, a new dream or a new year? Some of us are holding our breath hoping this year will be nothing like the last. Waiting for the new year to break in and disrupt the disappointments and distress of the last. Time will only tell. How do we embrace the hope of possibility and push away the anxiety of the unknown? Will our efforts in the new year be enough? We will have enough? Will life be different this year? One of my favorite strategies is something I think Hamilton himself employed when he thought about the future: Never. Stop. Moving. [the man was non-stop]. I am more than uncomfortable sitting still. And I’ve convinced myself that if I move fast enough and never stop working, reading, thinking, doing, writing, running and more working (whew)…there will be no time to worry about what lies on the other side of the horizon. The problem with this only comes when either you are forced to slow down or you simply run out of gas.
As we emerge over the horizon into 2018, this year holds much promise. A year for us to eliminate some of the hate, discrimination and harassment in our world. A year for collaboration, cooperation and tolerance. For equality and equity. A year in which we will certainly have mis-steps and failures alongside of our triumphs and treasured moments.
Maybe there is a better way. Maybe there is a way that we; you and I, find the balance between “non-stop” and “being enough.”
In my last post I wrote about finding hope in the midst of hopelessness, peace in the midst of anxiety. In the same sentiment, the Pastor preached last Sunday about the journey of life we are all on together. He spoke of those moments where we carry each other when we simply cannot carry ourselves. If we live our lives in “non-stop” mode we will move too quickly to notice those around us who need help along the journey. In the same way, when we learn to “be enough” we allow others on the journey the joy to carry us during the moments we simply cannot make it alone.
Maybe this year we can slow down, learn to be enough, and share life with one another.