Wait For It: On Hamilton and How Death is Defining My Life Right Now
If Death is a morbid or depressing topic for you, I challenge you to push past the title of this post and stay with me. I promise not to make you cry.
Recently, I saw Hamilton, the play, in Chicago. It was beautiful and amazing and the first time I've seen so may cast members of color in a production at that level. Everything about it was impeccable, and one song from the soundtrack is giving me such life. "Wait for It" was sung by Aaron Burr, played in this case by Wayne Brady, and the lyric that made me go grab a pen was
Death doesn’t discriminate
Between the sinners
And the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
And we keep living anyway
We rise and we fall
And we break
And we make our mistakes
And if there’s a reason I’m still alive
When everyone who loves me has died
I’m willing to wait for it
There are more lyrics I will dive into later but this verse was so appropriate as I have been reflecting on so many loved ones lost this year in my circle who were so very young. I am reflecting on teenagers and people in their early twenties who have moved on "before their lives even began". Note the quotes because these are not my own words or my impression of the truth.
See, what I'm chewing on is the fact that life does NOT begin after _____. It is now. The present, in its painful and joyous reality, is all we are promised and I believe that if we treat it as such, perhaps our vision will become as clear as possible.
One young woman lost too soon was an incredible person who worked her entire adolescence to pay for and complete college. She met her goal, of course, since she was amazing, and subsequently died the week before graduation. Graduation was, for her, the culmination of her hard work. She deserved all the joy and growth that life would bring, but she is gone. I wondered "how would she have spent her time, energy and capacity if she knew that her life had truly begun? And that it would end before she could earn that degree and go get a job with it? Would she have decided to make a different or similar contribution to the world, knowing that 21 years was all she had?" Her memory filled an entire theater with loved-ones and friends who had stories of her impact, but we will never know how much of her potential she tapped into.
Death doesn't discriminate. So as much as we are planning for the future, what are we doing today to make the most of our God-given gifts and talents? Are we sharing our stories and making an impact? Offering positivity and a shoulder to those in need? If the answer is "no" or "I don't know", then I'd like to offer the suggestion that it's time to take inventory. Consider how you can bless the world with all that is uniquely you. You deserve it and we can all benefit from what you have to offer. Make sure you don't leave the planet and take all you have with you!