I recently was introduce to the Musical Hamilton. What sold me on it completely was the end. I actually came near to crying, the tears were in my eyes. I know every girl says that about every movie or book with a sappy story in it. But that wasn’t what got to me. Up until the lat half or so of Act 2, I thought it was pretty good. But when Phillip died it got serious, and then this song. “It’s quiet uptown” got to me. I would definitely say listen to it because it’s better with music. But check out these lyrics, especially at the bottom:
Angelica: There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is suffering too terrible to name. You hold your child as tight as you can, and push away the unimaginable. The moments when you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down.
Hamilton: I spend hours in the garden. I walk alone to the store. And it’s quiet uptown. I never like the quiet before. I take the children to church on Sunday. A sign of the Cross at the door. And I pray. That never used to happen before.
You knock me out, I fall apart.
Company: Can you imagine?
Hamilton: Look at where we are. Look at where we started. I know I don’t deserve you Eliza. But hear me out. That would be enough.
If I could spare his life. If I could trade his life for mine. He’d be standing here right now. And you would smile, and that would be enough. I don’t pretend to know the challenges we’re facing. I know there’s no replacing what we’ve lost. And you need time. But I’m not afraid. I know who I married. Just let me stay here by your side. That would be enough.
Then Hamilton’s son got in duel, much like his father would after him, and was shot by the other man while he also fired into the air. The Hamiltons moved uptown after that, hence the song.
Eliza we know carried on Hamilton’s legacy after he died, for the next fifty years. She collected letters about him, she started an orphanage. She wanted him to be remembered. She had to know that would meant he affair would be remember too. As it has been. But clearly, she forgave him. Actually it might’ve been sooner then the song suggests, or later. But they had another kid.
Funny, whenever I hear some great forgiveness story on YouTube, I find in the comments that people can’t understand how they could forgive that. It can be fictional, often it’s real life. But either type of forgiveness blows people’s minds.
And it occurs to me how little we encourage it in each’s other. On TV people are petty, and rarely ever let go of event he stupidest of offences. They nag each other. How many of us are imitating that pattern? I know I am far too often.
And I struggle with forgiveness over really serious things. I am committed to justice. When it comes time to let that go, I fine it hard.
Christians are told to forgive everyone for each offense and show love.
Forgiveness is hard enough even when you’ve been raised to believe in it. But I think it is made harder when as a culture we feed on vengeance.
In entertainment, and the news. In politics. Of someone smears our candidate of choice, we smear theirs. If they talk bad about our party, we talk bad about theirs.
It may surprise you to know I see more blame on My own party’s side in this. Republicans and Conservatives. I think the Left does it too. Possibility more than we do. But I expect that from them. They always have. What shocks me sometimes is the contempt Conservatives show, and the lack of difference between how we talk about them.
True, we acknowledge some of them mean well, but that’s about it.
But political differences are a lot easier to forgive then something like cheating. Probably someone who reads this has been cheated on. It may make you livid to have it suggested that forgiveness is even possible. OR maybe you wish it was.
This one puts it well. Grace and recovery form grief are both unimaginable to us. I can’t imagine the kind of grief losing a child would be. I can try, but I know I get only a small part of the picture. My Aunt and Uncle have gone through this experience now. They have been quiet about it.
But anger in understandable to, and necessary for a time. The question is, and the question Hamilton is asking himself in this song is can the anger eventually pass? Can it be quiet? And can there be forgiveness?
I understand the outrage over what Hamilton did, and I would find it hard to get past myself. But a lot of couples do. I will say this, a man may make that kind of mistake, but not be worthless. It depends on the man. It depends on the woman too.
That kind of broken trust is hard to repair. But as someone who has been on the receiving end of not being forgiven for a long time, (as many of you have no doubt,) I can’t help but feel some sympathy for Hamilton.
Until we kill the desire, all of us at one time yearn to be forgiven and to be set free from the guilt of everything we do wrong. Eventually we let that die because we give up hope.
It’s an odd pattern that people who hate God or who give up on Him, tend to not have forgiven themselves or feel forgiven.
Anger at God for the things that have been done to us it nearly always built on the anger of not feeling forgiven. Which is fear, really, not anger.
Because in the Bible, and in the testimonies I’ve heard, it is always after we’ve been forgiven that we can forgive.
I think we hold grudges as a kind of covering for our own nakedness. So we can say that though we did wrong, we were wronged too, so there should be pity.
That’s not what the Company in this song is talking about when they say to pity Hamilton.
They mean, pity a man who is trying to redeem himself, or trying to accept grace. Because we do hide from what we don’t understand. especially grace.
People have been killed for it. People who forgive have been hated by those they’ve forgiven.
Yet the guilty often only change after they know they’ve been forgiven. When we get a blank slate, suddenly we feel we can rewrite our story.
Grace is unimaginable, more so than grief, because we live in pain easily, we live in freedom with great difficulty.
But what I love is that int he song, and apparently in history, it happened. Eliza did extend grace. She was a spiritual woman we know.
I guess the only appropriate way for me to end this is by telling you the good news: Jesus offers forgiveness. And maybe you don’t feel it, but you do want it. Or you did once, and it’s just buried. Maybe it seems to good to be true to you. (Skepticism is built off that feeling) but it’s true. All you have to do is ask him for it. And follow him.
Maybe you have already done that, but do it again. We all need to revisit that often.
And if there is someone who had done the unimaginable to you, there is a chance to forgive them. They will never deserves it. That’s why we can’t understand it. But thank God, we don’t get what we deserve. The bigger the offense, the more beautiful it is when it’s finally washed away.
Company: If you see him in the street walking by her side, talking by her side. Have pity.
Hamilton: Eliza do you like it uptown, it’s quiet uptown.
Company: He is trying to do the unimaginable. See them walking in the park, long after dark. Taking in the sights of the city.
In case you haven’t been caught up in the Hamilton craze, let me explain why this is so big. Hamilton cheated on his wife. It’s was a long messed up story, but he ended up publishing his letters with the woman to the public to clear his name. Very, very stupid. And the man was a genius in other respects. (There are some pretty scathing songs directed at him int he musical. And the fans get pretty hard on him too.)
Hamilton: Look around, look around Eliza.
Company: They are trying to do the unimaginable.
Angelica: There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is a grace too powerful to name. We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable. They are standing in the garden. Alexander by Eliza’s side. She takes his hand.
Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
If you see him in the street, walking by her side, talking by her side, have pity. They are going through the unimaginable.
The last part with Angelica and the Company is so true. It stuck me as profound.