Tell it like you’re running out of time | Opinion | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | July 3, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: June 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm
I had the same ringtone on my phone for as long as I’ve had my phone, but I finally bought a new one a couple of weeks ago. Now when someone calls me I hear, “…the room where it happened, the room where it happened, the room where it happened…” It just tickles me every time I hear it. I start singing along, tapping my feet, almost forgetting to hit the accept button and say hello.
The song that ringtone is made from comes from the current smash Broadway show “Hamilton, An American Musical.” It’s about the life of Alexander Hamilton. I’m not sure how I first heard about this musical, but I have gotten drawn in to all the hype surrounding it. I am taking it all in: YouTube videos, critic reviews, blog posts, Twitter feeds, whatever I can get my hands on that has anything to do with this musical. Did you see the Tony Awards a couple of weeks ago? There is a LOT of hype out there, and apparently it’s created the largest history class ever. Scores of people from teenagers to grandparents are learning the lyrics and the historic details.
Much of the music is hip hop. Before “Hamilton, An American Musical,” there were no hip hop songs on any of my playlists. I bought the two-disc CD set. Now, because I’ve memorized some of the lyrics, I think I can rap.
I bought the 800-page book written by Ron Chernow that it was based on. I’ve never read an 800-page book of any kind just for fun, much less a history book. I’m still in the process of reading, but I haven’t given up on it yet. It’s fascinating.
What I knew of Alexander Hamilton before “Hamilton, An American Musical” was limited. I knew he was considered a founding father, had something to do with the Constitution, and his face is on our $10 bill.
What I’ve learned about him since is that he was an orphan, born in the Caribbean who made his way to America by way of a scholarship because of something he wrote. Once on American soil, he wanted to do other great and noble things, and he did, but it was his writing that seemed to make a difference in the lives around him and in the life of our country. A current that flows through the musical is that he writes like he’s running out of time because no one is promised tomorrow. Get as much done today as you can.
A couple of years ago I heard a music publisher speaking to a crowd of musicians. He told them, “If you’ve been given a platform of any kind, say something.” It was one of those moments that marked me. It’s still fresh in my ears.
I guess that’s why Hamilton has resonated with me so strongly. Hamilton took every advantage he had to say something; his writings are proof. You and I are some of the benefactors of his words. He died when he was 49. That left a lot of tomorrows he never got.
None of us are promised tomorrow. “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-24 NLT).
I think we’ve all been given a platform of some kind, maybe not as a founding father or as a stage musician, but there is someone standing near us that needs to hear words that remain forever.
If we share the words of the Lord on the platforms God’s given us, we may not be promised tomorrow but those words are. Not only will they remain forever, but they will accomplish what He intended when he gave us the platform in the first place.
Say it. Write it. Don’t throw away your shot. Tell it like you’re running out of time.
(Nancy Davis attends First Baptist Church of Walterboro, where her husband Scott, is the minister of music. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)