When I saw Hamilton on stage two years ago, I was surprised by how much of the production surprised me. After all, I’d listened to the soundtrack dozens of times—not to mention the deep dive podcast episodes and think pieces I’d taken in over the preceding months.
But nothing had prepared me for seeing Hamilton on stage.
One of the scenes that surprised—and moved—me most was the moment Alexander Hamilton realizes (spoiler alert?) his infidelity is going to ruin his career. After he’s confronted about his indiscretions but before he makes a move in response, he imagines himself in the eye of a hurricane.
This scene is stunning, as all the major players in Hamilton’s life swirl around him (and the stage) in slow motion. Having simply listened to the song, I was stunned as I watched the visual representation of Hamilton’s emotional state spiraling out of control.
Granted, I have not made the mistakes Hamilton did. And I haven’t been threatened or betrayed in the way he was. But I know how that feels. When something horrible hits you in the gut, and you have to decide how to respond, a storm is exactly where you find yourself.
I shared a story about a time recently when I found myself in a storm of spiraling emotions or, as Hamilton would describe it, the eye of a hurricane. Here’s an excerpt of that story—and what I learned through it:
I stared at the screen, shocked. My head felt as if it were physically spinning, though I knew I was standing as still as I’d been the moment before I saw the post. I tried to evaluate my emotional and mental states.
What was I feeling?
Was I mad?
Was I sad?
Was I hurt, frustrated, disappointed?
Yes to all of it. Check “all of the above,” because I felt all those things — and more. I felt betrayed and despondent. And most of all, I felt uncertain about what to do next. How was I supposed to react to this situation? How did I want to respond? And was it possible those two answers would resemble one another in the slightest?
Minutes after seeing this social media post that pierced my heart, I was scheduled to attend a Zoom call. At first I thought it might be the perfect distraction from my pain, or possibly even a way to get over all the myriad emotions swirling around my heart and brain.
Spoiler alert: It was not. I did not get over it. At least, not in the thirty minutes immediately following the thing that hurt me. I’m not sure why I thought I could fix a broken heart in a few minutes, although I’m blaming wishful thinking and a good four decades of stuffing my feelings down deep whenever I — or others — deemed them unacceptable.
But this time, I couldn’t “get over it.” I was hurt! I was sad! And angry! And scared and disappointed and — oh my goodness, the list of my emotions seemed endless on that afternoon. No wonder I couldn’t move past them in the blink of an eye (or a swipe of the screen)!
The specifics of what hurt me that day don’t matter here. Because while it was a specific person who took a specific action that led to my pain that day, it wasn’t the first time (and certainly won’t be the last) I found myself in a cyclone of emotion, unsure how to react, what would “fix” things, or even which way was up. And I know I’m not alone in this experience. You’ve felt this sort of pain, too, haven’t you?
What matters is that on that day, God gently and generously whispered, “Stop. Take a moment. Let it out. I’m here.” He pushed the pause button on my agitation cycle, pulling me away from the feeling-stuffing and problem-fixing, opening His arms to hold me as I let it all out.
And He’ll do the same for you the next time you find yourself in a storm of emotion.