Hamilton is the hyper-popular award-winning Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana) that I managed to catch last weekend (I bought these tickets many months ago). It’s a musical about Alexander Hamilton, an American Founding Father and his rise within the political ranks of the budding democracy only to have his life crash down from his meteoric heights due to personal scandal and family tragedy. His adulterous scandal costs him dearly in political credibility and obviously the support of his spouse, who looks to burn away memories of her existence.
What struck me though among all the catchy tunes was an image of God’s mercy which shines through the sweet number “It’s Quiet Uptown”. The song is sung by Eliza Hamilton’s protective older sister narrating first the depths of the “unimaginable” quagmire Alexander and Eliza have found themselves, “you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down”.
Reunited after their son’s premature tragic death, the estranged couple tries to recover a sense of steadiness or normalcy by moving uptown and numb themselves to their grief and loss. The sorrow and contrition in Alexander to his wife is clear “I know I don’t deserve you, Eliza…I don’t pretend to know the challenges we’re facing…and you need time…Just let me stay here by your side that would be enough.”
This cathartic moment, like in any great play, thus opens up the floodgates for Divine Mercy, embodied in his wife. The song goes on “There are moments that the words don’t reach, There is a grace too powerful to name…She takes his hand. Forgiveness, can you imagine?”
The Canadian Poet-Playwright Ins Choi writes “Forgiveness is for them but forgiving is for you”. Clearly Forgiveness transcends restoring normalcy and restores Love, which is the only way to bear tragedy. Eliza outlives her husband for 50 more years dedicated to preserving his memory (thus reversing her promise to burn herself from his history) and establishing the first private orphanage, thus raising hundreds of children, more than overcoming the loss of their first-born son.
What God can do with broken instruments and broken situations… listen to the song yourself…
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