Recently I was given the sound track to the current Broadway musical “Hamilton”. I’ve listened to it several times. It is a powerful story of the early founders of our country. Much of the story is centered on the relationship of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, their tentative friendship, their ambitious goals and their growing rivalry. But the role of Hamilton’s wife Eliza is prominent.
One of the songs that moves me to tears each time I listen is called “It’s Quiet Uptown.” Eliza and Hamilton have endured tremendous personal pain and tragedy ending with the death of their eldest son, Philip. They move uptown away from the activity and demands of the city. They are trying to “learn to live with the unimaginable,” as the song goes. Being with grieving families and facilitating grief support groups has shown me that the loss of a child, no matter how old, means living with the unimaginable. I hear over and over from parents that it just isn’t supposed to happen this way. Parents go before their children. The aching in their hearts is beyond imagining. Getting though the loss is a long, painful and fragile journey of faith. All those who grieve must go on living, putting one foot in front of the other, day by day. As the song suggests ”There are moments when the words don’t reach.” One can feel the intensity of the experience.
But the song takes the listener to a new and deeper realm of the unimaginable when it describes Eliza and Alexander standing in the garden. She takes his hand. No blaming. No demands. No conditions. “Forgiveness. Can you imagine?” Who of us hasn’t known the power and grace of being forgiven? The unconditional love that we experience when someone we have hurt reaches out and takes our hand is unimaginable.
Forgiving changes relationships. We acknowledge our vulnerability and our need for each other. We are humbled, bent over with relief and gratitude. This every day Christian practice of forgiving can permeate our hearts and hearths so that the unimaginable becomes a realistic hope. This month as we tip toe toward Lent we will focus on Forgiveness. On February 8th, Fr. Tim Shillcox, O.Praem will speak to adults at our Generations of Disciples session. The title of his presentation is “Allowing the Tsunami of Divine Mercy to Wash over the World” – 4 Steps. Unimaginable?
Peace to all,