Why Is It So Hard?

These things we are called to in life, these difficulties thrust before us, why does it have to be so hard?

It’s just life. It is what it is. One of those four great truths Buddha identified: “Life is difficult.”

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus makes a similar observation as he spells out how his friends should act: as a sheep among wolves, shrewd yet simple. And all will speak against you, and worry not about what to say, the Spirit will guide you.

But that doesn’t make it easier, I don’t think; it makes it more manageable, gives us a path forward, but not easier.

I’ve failed plenty of times to take this proper attitude, I’ve given in to the darkness, been overwhelmed, crushed.

And then? Then I try again. That’s it. Just try again.

It’s hard. That’s just how it is. Life is hard. And that’s ok. And you’re ok. Onward.

Land’s End, 8 Mile Road

All the way out we drove, to the end, 8 Mile Road, West, Stockton. Me and the kids, Mama was having lunch in town with friend.

We snacked in the park first. Watched a couple woodpeckers do their thing. Saw a few blue birds too, these creatures flitting here and there in the midday summer heat. No breeze. A few guys playing frisbee golf around us.

Then down the road, to the end. The kids seemed to enjoy it; so did I. Hadn’t been down that road in 35 years. Here’s what we found.

Bedtime at Fernwood

Quite a ruckus most nights getting ALL to bed. There are the usual night-time chores — putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, getting water bottles filled with ice and water, arranging stuffed animals and blankets — it can sometimes take quite a while.

But when we’re done, and the lights go off, relaxation falls over everyone like a blanket. Then, it’s time for a nighttime song… in the darkness, in the quiet, as the bustle ends, in a darkened room lit only by the soft white glow of the nightlight near the floor, “Mother mother ocean…“

And soon there after, there is quiet and harmony and peace, and slumber comes. Amen, soon there after, slumber comes. Amen.

Hamilton: Redemption, and Honor, Failed. In the End, Who Tells Your Story?

Best of Wives and Best of Women

(Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton Cast)

[ELIZA]
Alexander, come back to sleep

[HAMILTON]
I have an early meeting out of town

[ELIZA]
It’s still dark outside

[HAMILTON]
I know. I just need to write something down

[ELIZA]
Why do you write like you’re running out of time?

[HAMILTON]
Shhh

[ELIZA]
Come back to bed. That would be enough

[HAMILTON]
I’ll be back before you know I’m gone

[ELIZA]
Come back to sleep

[HAMILTON]
This meeting’s at dawn

[ELIZA]
Well, I’m going back to sleep

[HAMILTON]
Hey. Best of wives and best of women


The World Was Wide Enough

(Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton Cast)

[MALE COMPANY]
One two three four

[FULL COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND BURR)]
Five six seven eight nine-

[BURR]
There are ten things you need to know

[COMPANY]
Number one!

[BURR]
We rowed across the Hudson at dawn
My friend, William P. Van Ness signed on as my-

[BURR AND COMPANY]
Number two!

[BURR]
Hamilton arrived with his crew:
Nathaniel Pendleton and a doctor that he knew

[COMPANY]
Number three!

[BURR]
I watched Hamilton examine the terrain
I wish I could tell you what was happ’ning in his brain
This man has poisoned my political pursuits!

[COMPANY]
Most disputes die and no one shoots!
Number four!

[BURR]
Hamilton drew first position
Looking, to the world, like a man on a mission
This is a soldier with a marksman’s ability
The doctor turned around so he could have deniability

COMPANY
Five!

BURR
Now I didn’t know this at the time
But we were-
[BURR AND PHILIP]
Near the same spot
Your son died, is that
Why- [HAMILTON]
Near the same spot
My son died, is that
Why-

[COMPANY]
Six!

[BURR]
He examined his gun with such rigor?
I watched as he methodically fiddled with the trigger

[COMPANY]
Seven!

[BURR]
Confession time? here’s what I got:
My fellow soldiers’ll tell you I’m a terrible shot

[COMPANY]
Number eight!

[BURR/HAMILTON/ENSEMBLE MEN]
Your last chance to negotiate
Send in your seconds, see if they can set the record straight

[BURR]
They won’t teach you this in your classes
But look it up, Hamilton was wearing his glasses
Why? If not to take deadly aim?
It’s him or me, the world will never be the same
I had only one thought before the slaughter:
This man will not make an orphan of my daughter

[COMPANY]
Number nine!

[BURR]
Look him in the eye, aim no higher
Summon all the courage you require
Then count:

[COMPANY]
One two three four five six seven eight nine
Number ten paces! Fire!-

[HAMILTON]
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
Is this where it gets me, on my feet, sev’ral feet ahead of me?
I see it coming, do I run or fire my gun or let it be?
There is no beat, no melody
Burr, my first friend, my enemy
Maybe the last face I ever see
If I throw away my shot, is this how you’ll remember me?
What if this bullet is my legacy?

Legacy. What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see
I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me
America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me
You let me make a difference
A place where even orphan immigrants
Can leave their fingerprints and rise up
I’m running out of time. I’m running, and my time’s up
Wise up. Eyes up
I catch a glimpse of the other side
Laurens leads a soldiers’ chorus on the other side
My son is on the other side
He’s with my mother on the other side
Washington is watching from the other side

Teach me how to say goodbye

Rise up, rise up, rise up
Eliza

My love, take your time
I’ll see you on the other side
Raise a glass to freedom…

[BURR AND COMPANY]
He aims his pistol at the sky-

[BURR]
Wait!

[BURR]
I strike him right between his ribs
I walk towards him, but I am ushered away
They row him back across the Hudson
I get a drink

[COMPANY]
Aaaah
Aaaah
Aaaah

[BURR]
I hear wailing in the streets

[COMPANY]
Aaaah
Aaaah
Aaaah

[BURR]
Somebody tells me, “You’d better hide.”

[COMPANY]
Aaaah
Aaaah
Aaaah

[BURR]
They say

[BURR AND ANGELICA]
Angelica and Eliza-

[BURR]
Were both at his side when he died
Death doesn’t discriminate
Between the sinners and the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
History obliterates
In every picture it paints
It paints me and all my mistakes
When Alexander aimed
At the sky
He may have been the first one to die
But I’m the one who paid for it

I survived, but I paid for it

Now I’m the villain in your history
I was too young and blind to see…
I should’ve known
I should’ve known
The world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me
The world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

(Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton Cast)

[WASHINGTON]
Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control:

[WASHINGTON AND COMPANY]
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?

[WASHINGTON]
President Jefferson:


I’ll give him this: his financial system is a
Work of genius. I couldn’t undo it if I tried
And I tried

[WASHINGTON AND COMPANY]
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?

[WASHINGTON]
President Madison:


He took our country from bankruptcy to prosperity
I hate to admit it, but he doesn’t get enough credit
For all the credit he gave us

[WASHINGTON AND COMPANY]
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?

[ANGELICA]
Every other founding fathers story gets told
Every other founding father gets to grow old

[BURR]
But when you’re gone, who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?
[BURR AND MEN]
Who tells your story?

Who tells your story?
[ANGELICA AND WOMEN]
Who tells your story?


[WOMEN]
Eliza

[ELIZA]
I put myself back in the narrative

[WOMEN]
Eliza

[ELIZA]
I stop wasting time on tears
I live another fifty years
but It’s not enough

[COMPANY]
Eliza

[ELIZA]
I interview every soldier who fought by your side

[MULLIGAN/LAFAYETTE/LAURENCE]
She tells our story

[ELIZA]
I try to make sense of your thousands of pages of writings
You really do write like you’re running out of-

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]
Time

[ELIZA]
I rely on-

[ELIZA AND ANGELICA]
Angelica

[ELIZA]
While she’s alive-

[ELIZA AND ANGELICA]
We tell your story

[ELIZA]
She is buried in Trinity Church

[ELIZA AND ANGELICA]
Near you

[ELIZA]
When I needed her most, she was right on-

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]
Time

[ELIZA]
And I’m still not through
I ask myself, “What would you do if you had more-“

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]
Time

[ELIZA]
The Lord, in his kindness
He gives me what you always wanted
He gives me more-

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]
Time

[ELIZA]
I raise funds in D.C. for the Washington Monument

[WASHINGTON]
She tells my story

[ELIZA]
I speak out against slavery
You could have done so much more if you only had-

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]
Time

[ELIZA]
And when my time is up, have I done enough?
[ELIZA]
Will they tell my story? [COMPANY]
Will they tell your story?

[ELIZA]
Oh. Can I show you what I’m proudest of?

[COMPANY]
The orphanage

[ELIZA]
I established the first private orphanage in New York City

[COMPANY]
The orphanage

[ELIZA]
I help to raise hundreds of children
I get to see them growing up

[COMPANY]
The orphanage

[ELIZA]
In their eyes I see you, Alexander
I see you every-

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]
Time
[ELIZA]
And when my time is up
Have I done enough?
Will they tell my story?

[COMPANY]
Will they tell your story?

[ELIZA]
Oh, I can’t wait to see you again
It’s only a matter of-

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]
Time
[COMPANY]
Will they tell your story?
(COMPANY/ELIZA MUTTERING)
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

Will they tell your story?

Who lives, who dies-
[COMPANY]
Time…

Time…

[FULL COMPANY]
Who tells your story?

Lyrics Post: “Satisfied”

So SO many songs in Hamilton, 46 in all, I think it is. And so which ones to highlight in this lead-up to the TV debut of the staged musical from 2016 and the original cast…

This song comes to mind as one of my favorites, but also reflective of one of the fundamental themes of the production: striving, pushing, yearning to be better, to do more, to be happier…to be, satisfied.

Don’t we all strive to that, in the end?

[Laurens:]
Alright, alright. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!


Now everyone give it up for the maid of honor
Angelica Schuyler!

[Angelica (all men) {all women}:]
A toast to the groom!
(To the groom!)
(To the groom!)
{(To the groom!)}
To the bride!
{To the bride!}
(To the bride!)
{To the bride!}
From your sister
(Angelica!)
(Angelica!)
{(Angelica!)}
Who is always by your side
(By your side)
{By your side}
To your union
{(To the union!)}
{(To the revolution!)}
And the hope that you provide
(You provide!)
{(You provide!)}
May you always…
{(Always)}
Be satisfied
{(Rewind)}

[Recorded Samples:]
Rewind, rewind
Helpless,
Schuyler, Schuyler
Helpless
Drownin’ in ’em
Drownin’, rewind

I remember that night, I just might (rewind)
I remember that night, I just might (rewind)
I remember that night, I remember that

[Angelica:]
I remember that night, I just might
Regret that night for the rest of my days
I remember those soldier boys
Tripping over themselves to win our praise
I remember that dreamlike candlelight
Like a dream that you can’t quite place
But Alexander, I’ll never forget the first time I saw your face

I have never been the same
Intelligent eyes in a hunger-pang frame
And when you said, “Hi,” I forgot my dang name
Set my heart aflame, every part aflame
[Full Company:]
This is not a game…

[Hamilton:]
You strike me as a woman who has never been satisfied
[Angelica:]
I’m sure I don’t know what you mean
You forget yourself
[Hamilton:]
You’re like me
I’m never satisfied
[Angelica:]
Is that right?
[Hamilton:]
I’ve never been satisfied
[Angelica:]
My name is Angelica Schuyler
[Hamilton:]
Alexander Hamilton
[Angelica:]
Where’s your family from?
[Hamilton:]
Unimportant
There’s a million things I haven’t done
but just you wait, just you wait…

[Angelica:]
So so so… so this is what it feels like to match wits
With someone at your level! What the hell is the catch?
It’s the feeling of freedom, of seein’ the light
It’s Ben Franklin with a key and a kite!
You see it, right?

The conversation lasted two minutes, maybe three minutes
Everything we said in total agreement, it’s
A dream and it’s a bit of a dance
A bit of a posture, it’s a bit of a stance

He’s a bit of a flirt, but I’m ‘a give it a chance
I asked about his family. Did you see his answer?
His hands started fidgeting, he looked askance?
He’s penniless, he’s flying by the seat of his pants

Handsome. Boy, does he know it?
Peach fuzz, and he can’t even grow it!
I wanna take him far away from this place
Then I turn and see my sister’s face
And she is…

[Eliza:]
Helpless…
[Angelica:]
And I know she is…
[Eliza:]
Helpless…
[Angelica:]
And her eyes are just…
[Eliza:]
Helpless…
[Angelica:]
And I realize
[Angelica and Company:]
Three fundamental truths at the exact same time…

[Hamilton:]
Where are you taking me?
[Angelica:]
I’m about to change your life
[Hamilton:]
Then by all means, lead the way

[Company (except Angelica):]
Number one!
[Angelica:]
I’m a girl in a world in which
My only job is to marry rich
My father has no sons so I’m the one
Who has to social climb for one
So I’m the oldest and the wittiest and the gossip in
New York City is insidious
And Alexander is penniless
Ha! That doesn’t mean I want him any less

[Eliza:]
Elizabeth Schuyler. It’s a pleasure to meet you
[Hamilton:]
Schuyler?
[Angelica:]
My sister

[Company:]
Number two!
[Angelica:]
He’s after me ’cause I’m a Schuyler sister
That elevates his status, I’d
Have to be naïve to set that aside
Maybe that is why
I introduce him to Eliza
Now that’s his bride
Nice going, Angelica, he was right
You will never be satisfied

[Eliza:]
Thank you for all your service
[Hamilton:]
If it takes fighting a war for us to meet, it will have been worth it
[Angelica:]
I’ll leave you to it

[Company:]
Number three!
[Angelica:]
I know my sister like I know my own mind
You will never find
Anyone as trusting or as kind
If I tell her that I love him she’d be silently resigned
He’d be mine
She would say, “I’m fine.”
[Angelica and Company:]
She’d be lying

[Angelica:]
But when I fantasize at night
It’s Alexander’s eyes
As I romanticize what might
Have been if I hadn’t sized
Him up so quickly
At least my dear Eliza’s his wife;
At least I keep his eyes in my life…

[Angelica (all men) {all women}:]
To the groom!
(To the groom!)
(To the groom!)
{(To the groom!)}
To the bride!
{To the bride!}
(To the bride!)
{To the bride!}
From your sister
(Angelica!)
(Angelica!)
{(Angelica!)}
Who is always by your side
(By your side)
{By your side}
To your union
{(To the union!)}
{(To the revolution!)}
And the hope that you provide
(You provide!)
{(You provide!)}
May you always…
{(Always)}
Be satisfied
(Be satisfied)
{Be satisfied}
(Be satisfied)
And I know
{(Be satisfied)}
(Be satisfied)
(Be satisfied)
(Be satisfied)
She’ll be happy as
(Be satisfied)
(Be satisfied)
His bride
{(Be satisfied)}
And I know
(Be satisfied)
(Be satisfied)
(Be satisfied)
{Be satisfied}
He will never be satisfied
I will never be satisfied


Writer(s): Lin-manuel Miranda

Hamilton

And so in honor of “Hamilton” coming to the screen, a little twist to the blog this week.

The next few posts, some of my favorite songs from the 46 that make up this musical, the lyrics that tell the story.

These lyrics, the music, the story unfolds, again and again and again.

GOOD.

Hamilton. GOOD.

40

40 & FREE,

40 & FIERCE,

40, half-way, how do you feel?

How’s it been, how’s it gonna be?

Today we celebrate the fun & fabulous, fierce & fantastic, Susan Carroll Ludlum – my partner and inspiration in keeping this family going strong and together and forward – truly our superhero! 40 today, and you’re on your way, honey! May the second half be even better! We love you! Happy Birthday !!!

What ever you want to be, what ever you choose, let it be so,

40 & FIERCE,

40 & FREE.

Lyrics Post: “Bravado”

Yet another RUSH song, yet more sounds and words the soak deep into me over and over again. It fortifies me.

“Bravado”

“If we burn our wings
Flying too close to the sun
If the moment of glory
Is over before it’s begun
If the dream is won
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price
But we will not count the cost

When the dust has cleared
And victory denied
A summit too lofty
River a little too wide
If we keep our pride
Though paradise is lost
We will pay the price
But we will not count the cost

And if the music stops
There’s only the sound of the rain
All the hope and glory
All the sacrifice in vain
(And) If love remains
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price
But we will not count the cost”

Writer(s): Neil Peart, Geddy Lee Weinrib, Alex Lifeson