In case I didn’t shout it from the rooftops of social media enough, I married the best of husbands, best of men. He sent me to see Hamilton – I flew out the day after Christmas.
The number one question asked to me is, “was it worth it to see it live?” I mean, if you’ve listened to the soundtrack, you’ve heard 99% of the show. Nearly the entire thing is in song (as is Rent, my other favorite musical I sing to people ad nauseum).
The staging is fantastic and the movement of the choreography makes it worth the ticket price. There’s a hidden character that I’m grateful I read about before I went. The piece is so layered and brilliantly woven that, as impossible as it seemed to me – having heard and dissected the themes hundreds of times before seeing it – I walked away with a better grasp of (one of) the true questions the story was out to reveal: Who tells your story?
It’s easy to sing, but watching Eliza walk across the stage and explain to the world that she chose to write herself back into the narrative broke me. She told his story, because of love.
Hamilton wanted to Live Big. “Don’t be surprised when you read about me in your history books.” His sense of limited time and limited life drove him to produce and work and drive and create and make change. In the words of 98% of pastors of today, he wanted to “make an impact”. The thought of his legacy drove him toward Bigness.
The masses never truly told his story. Wall Street only speaks his name when the news crews are around covering a broadway play. Banks pay little tribute to him. The crowds rarely tell the story, the truest story, the story that captures your heart and not just your numbers.
But Eliza. Eliza. (Yes, I just sang that.) She tells his story. His writings, his soldiers. His heart.
We can do Great Things in this world. We can be World Changers. A Founding Father. A Global Economy Infrastructure Creator. All awesome, much needed. But that doesn’t give you your legacy.
Your love creates your legacy.
Hamilton was far from Perfect Husband (and the show is clear on that one), but he loved his wife and family. And that’s what I packed into my bag to bring home from NYC. You can do everything short of becoming President, and if you don’t love well, it’s not a great story. You can do big, great things for the masses, but if you can’t love the people under your roof, your story is mostly reduced to numbers.
Can I be real a second? Just a millisecond? Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?
This is hard for me. In the thick of it – convincing toddlers to quietly go (back) to bed or teaching for the 8 millionth time to put things away and treat our things with respect – it seems petty. Miniscule. After the 78th time of interrupting my attempts to put dinner on the table to intervene in a nerf gun war gone awry, I’d much rather turn my attention to the bigger battles of society. Truthfully, I feel like I might make more progress dismantling the patriarchy than my feeble attempts to keep a floor without socks strewn about everywhere. (WHO is wearing all these socks?!)
At the end of my days, even if I manage to cure world hunger, the millions of people fed won’t have my story. It will be told by those who I tuck in each night and by the one who always checks to make sure nothing is in the washing machine. The people who share my table and the deep center of my heart – they will tell my story.
Hamilton convinced me to fill the pages with material for them to tell the best story possible.