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.

Say Their Names, Honor Their Fight For Equal Rights

In this great American experiment, we must rely on the fundamental ideals the founders laid out in the beginning.  After that initial revolution that birthed the United States of America, some eighty years later, we fought a civil war to solidify the course of our country.   

We are at a similar, if not as outwardly violent, cross-roads once again.  All  colors.  All religions, all creeds.  LGBTQ or straight, ALL who strive and desire to live in peace with one another.  

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL.  *ALL* people deserve, ney, HAVE these inalienable rights.  

Let us not rest until this ideal is in fact, reality.  Let us make it a reality.  Let us say their names over and over until all peoples have justice and equal treatment across these fair and wide lands.

Take a listen to this profile of one woman’s life, striving to find her way, her own way, in this America. 

Storme DeLarverie ~

one.npr.org/i/884080764:884168701

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?

Hamilton: Two Songs, Different Perspectives, One Truth

[Reposted from last week, these two songs in the context of the whole Hamilton sequence, and because they are so pivotal to his story.]

Hamilton’s intellect and courage and vision and words, all were not enough to save his marriage after his adultery.

Though still married in title, only a shell remained. The trust and confidence and certainty of love had disappeared. In the wake of the hurricane, only ruin. And then the ruin, it was burned.

“Hurricane”

[Hamilton:]

In the eye of a hurricane

There is quiet

For just a moment

A yellow sky

When I was seventeen a hurricane

Destroyed my town

I didn’t drown

I couldn’t seem to die

I wrote my way out

Wrote everything down far as I could see

I wrote my way out

I looked up and the town had its eyes on me

They passed a plate around

Total strangers

Moved to kindness by my story

Raised enough for me to book passage on a

Ship that was New York bound…

I wrote my way out of hell

I wrote my way to revolution

I was louder than the crack in the bell

I wrote Eliza love letters until she fell

I wrote about The Constitution and defended it well

And in the face of ignorance and resistance

I wrote financial systems into existence

And when my prayers to God were met with indifference

I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance

In the eye of a hurricane

There is quiet

For just a moment

A yellow sky

I was twelve when my mother died

She was holding me

We were sick and she was holding me

I couldn’t seem to die

[Burr:]

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it…

[Hamilton:]

I’ll write my way out…

[Burr and Ensemble:]

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it…

[Hamilton:]

Write ev’rything down, far as I can see…

[Burr and Ensemble (Washington/Eliza/Angelica/Maria):]

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, wait… (History has its eyes on you)

[Hamilton:]

I’ll write my way out…

Overwhelm them with honesty

This is the eye of the hurricane, this is the only

Way I can protect my legacy…

[Company (Except Hamilton):]

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, wait…

[Hamilton:]

The Reynolds Pamphlet

“Burn”

[Eliza:]

I saved every letter you wrote me

From the moment I read them

I knew you were mine

You said you were mine

I thought you were mine

Do you know what Angelica said

When we saw your first letter arrive?

She said, “Be careful with that one, love.

He will do what it takes to survive.”

You and your words flooded my senses

Your sentences left me defenseless

You built me palaces out of paragraphs

You built cathedrals

I’m re-reading the letters you wrote me

I’m searching and scanning for answers

In every line

For some kind of sign

And when you were mine

The world seemed to burn, burn

You published the letters she wrote you

You told the whole world how you brought

This girl into our bed

In clearing your name, you have ruined our lives

Do you know what Angelica said

When she read what you’d done?

She said, “You’ve married an Icarus.

He has flown too close to the sun.”

You and your words, obsessed with your legacy…

Your sentences border on senseless

And you are paranoid in every paragraph

How they perceive you

You, you, you…

I’m erasing myself from the narrative

Let future historians wonder

How Eliza reacted when you broke her heart

You have torn it all apart

I’m watching it burn

Watching it burn

The world has no right to my heart

The world has no place in our bed

They don’t get to know what I said

I’m burning the memories

Burning the letters that might have redeemed you

You forfeit all rights to my heart

You forfeit the place in our bed

You sleep in your office instead

With only the memories

Of when you were mine

I hope that you burn

Hamilton: A Side Note

A side note to provide a bit of added explanation – in case needed – as to why all the Hamilton lyrics post.

Love the musical. A

Saw it in San Francisco a couple years ago with my wife; she was so excited she saw it a second time the next weekend.

The music has played in our house since then. Our kids know some of the songs. I find myself listening over and over again. The songs are like a salve for my soul.

It seemed appropriate to capture some of the lyrics that are most meaningful to me in this blog, to further enshrine them.

And when better to do so than on 4th July weekend, as we celebrate 244 years of America; as our nation sits in a pandemic; as our immunities, our society take fresh aim at changing fundamental inequities within, injustice, police violence, systemic racism.

The great American Experiment continues. And “Hamilton” is high on the playlist.

Hamilton: Twin Developments Shaped His Path

Hamilton’s bravery and leadership got General Washington’s attention; thus he became the general’s Right Hand Man. And then his charisma at a Winter’s Ball caught the eye of a certain Schuyler, and she was Helpless.

[WASHINGTON]
Don’t get me wrong, you’re a young man, of great renown
I know you stole British cannons when we were still downtown
Nathaniel Green and Henry Knox wanted to hire you…

[HAMILTON]
To be their Secretary? I don’t think so

[WASHINGTON]
Why’re you upset?

[HAMILTON]
I’m not-

[WASHINGTON]
It’s alright, you want to fight, you’ve got a hunger
I was just like you when I was younger
Head full of fantasies of dyin’ like a martyr?

[HAMILTON]
Yes

[WASHINGTON]
Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder

[HAMILTON]
Why are you telling me this?

[WASHINGTON]
I’m being honest
I’m working with a third of what our Congress has promised
We are a powder keg about to explode
I need someone like you to lighten the load. So?

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON)]
I am not throwin’ away my shot!
I am not throwin’ away my shot!
Ayo, I’m just like my country, I’m young
Scrappy and hungry!

[HAMILTON]
I am not throwing away my shot!

[WASHINGTON]
Son

[WASHINGON AND COMPANY]
We are outgunned, outmanned!

[HAMILTON]
You need all the help you can get
I have some friends. Laurens, Mulligan
Marquis de Lafayette, okay, what else?

[WASHINGTON AND COMPANY]
Outnumbered, outplanned!

[HAMILTON]
We’ll need some spies on the inside
Some King’s men who might let some things slide
[HAMILTON]
I’ll write to Congress and tell ‘em we need supplies, you rally the guys, master the element of surprise

I’ll rise above my station, organize your information, ‘til we rise to the occasion of our new nation. Sir!

[ENSEMBLE]
Here comes the General!

[HAMILTON]
Rise up!

[HAMILTON]
Rise up!

[ENSEMBLE]
Here comes the General!

[HAMILTON]
Rise up! [COMPANY]
Boom!

Chicka-boom!

[ENSEMBLE]
Here comes the General!

[SCHUYLER SISTERS]
Rise up!

[SCHUYLER SISTERS AND WOMEN]
Rise up! [ELIZA/ANGELICA/PEGGY]
Whoa, whoa, whoa…

Whoa, whoa, whoa…

[ELIZA/ANGELICA/PEGGY AND WOMEN]
Whoa, whoa, whoa…

[LAURENS/
LAFAYETTE/
MULLIGAN]
What?

[LAURENS/
LAFAYETTE/
MULLIGAN]
What?

[LAURENS/
LAFAYETTE/
MULLIGAN]
What?

[FULL COMPANY]
Here comes the General!

[HAMILTON]
What?

[WASHINGTON]
And his right hand man!

[FULL COMPANY]
Boom!

Top▲


A Winter’s Ball

(Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton Cast)

[BURR]
How does the bastard, orphan, son of a whore
Go on and on
Grow into more of a phenomenon?
Watch this obnoxious, arrogant, loudmouth bother
Be seated at the right hand of the father
Washington hires Hamilton right on sight
But Hamilton still wants to fight, not write
Now Hamilton’s skill with a quill is undeniable
But what do we have in common? We’re
Reliable with the

[ALL MEN]
Ladies!

[BURR]
There are so many to deflower!

[ALL MEN]
Ladies!

[BURR]
Looks! Proximity to power

[ALL MEN]
Ladies!

[BURR]
They delighted and distracted him
Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after him!

[HAMILTON]
That’s true

[FULL COMPANY]
1780

[BURR]
A winter’s ball
And the Schuyler sisters are the envy of all
Yo, if you can marry a sister, you’re rich, son

[HAMILTON]
Is it a question of if, Burr, or which one?

[HAMILTON/BURR/LAURENS]
Hey
Hey
Hey hey

Top▲


Helpless

(Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton Cast)

[HAMILTON/BURR/LAURENS/ALL WOMEN (EXCEPT ELIZA)]
Hey hey hey hey
[ELIZA]
Ohh, I do I do I do I
Dooo! Hey!
Ohh, I do I do I do I
Dooo! Boy you got me [ALL WOMEN]
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey

[ELIZA AND WOMEN]
Helpless!
Look into your eyes, and the sky’s the limit I’m helpless!
Down for the count, and I’m drownin’ in ‘em

[ELIZA]
I have never been the type to try and grab the spotlight
We were at a revel with some rebels on a hot night
Laughin’ at my sister as she’s dazzling the room
Then you walked in and my heart went “Boom!”
Tryin’ to catch your eye from the side of the ballroom
Everybody’s dancin’ and the band’s top volume

[ELIZA AND WOMEN]
Grind to the rhythm as we wine and dine
[ELIZA]
Grab my sister, and
Whisper, “Yo, this
One’s mine.”

My sister made her way across the room to you
And I got nervous, thinking “What’s she gonna do?”
She grabbed you by the arm, I’m thinkin’ “I’m through”
Then you look back at me and suddenly I’m
Helpless!

Oh, look at those eyes

Oh!
Yeah, I’m
Helpless, I know

I’m so into you
I am so into you

I know I’m down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in ‘em.

[ALL WOMEN]
Oooh

Oooh

Oooh

Oooh

Helpless!

Look into your eyes
And the sky’s the limit
I’m
Helpless!
Down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in ‘em

I’m helpless!

Look into your eyes
And the sky’s the limit I’m helpless!

Down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in ‘em.

[HAMILTON]
Where are you taking me?

[ANGELICA]
I’m about to change your life

[HAMILTON]
Then by all means, lead the way

[ELIZA]
Elizabeth Schuyler. It’s a pleasure to meet you

[HAMILTON]
Schuyler?

[ANGELICA]
My sister

[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

[ELIZA AND WOMEN]
One week later

[ELIZA]
I’m writin’ a letter nightly
Now my life gets better, every letter that you write me
Laughin’ at my sister, cuz she wants to form a harem

[ANGELICA]
I’m just sayin’, if you really loved me, you would share him
[ELIZA]
Ha!
Two weeks later
In the living room stressin’
My father’s stone-faced
While you’re asking for his blessin’
I’m dying inside, as
You wine
And dine
And I’m tryin’ not to cry
‘cause there’s nothing that your mind can’t do
My father makes his way across the room
To you
I panic for a second, thinking
“we’re through”
But then he shakes your hand and says
“Be true”
And you turn back to me, smiling, and I’m
Helpless!

Helpless!
Hoo!

That boy is mine
That boy is mine!

Helpless! Helpless!
Down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in em

[ALL WOMEN]
Stressin’

Blessin’

Oooh

Oooh

Oooh

Oooh

Helpless!
Look into your eyes
And the sky’s the
Limit I’m
Helpless!
Down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in
‘em I’m
Helpless!

Look into your eyes
And the sky’s the
Limit I’m
Helpless!
Down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in em

[HAMILTON]
Eliza, I don’t have a dollar to my name
An acre of land, a troop to command, a dollop of fame
All I have’s my honor, a tolerance for pain
A couple of college credits and my top-notch brain
Insane, your family brings out a different side of me
Peggy confides in me, Angelica tried to take a bite of me
No stress, my love for you is never in doubt
We’ll get a little place in Harlem and we’ll figure it out
I’ve been livin’ without a family since I was a child
My father left, my mother died, I grew up buckwild
But I’ll never forget my mother’s face, that was real
And long as I’m alive, Eliza, swear to God
You’ll never feel so…

[HAMILTON]
Eliza…

I’ve never felt so-

My life is gon’ be fine cuz Eliza’s in it.
[ELIZA]
I do I do I do I do!

I do I do I do I do!

Hey, yeah, yeah!

I’m down for the count
I’m-

I look into your eyes, and the sky’s the limit
I’m

…drownin’ in ‘em. [ALL WOMEN]
Helpless!

Helpless!

Helpless!

Down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in ‘em

Helpless!

Helpless!

Helpless!

Down for the count
And I’m drownin’ in ‘em.

Wedding march plays

[ALL WOMEN]
In New York, you can be a new man…
In New York, you can be a new man…
In New York, you can be a new man…

[ELIZA]
Helpless