2020 / July

Do you have a clue what happens now?

What comes next? from Hamilton

Photo by Jennifer Bonauer on Unsplash

Continuing our Hamilton theme, and building on the idea of having patience explored in the last edition, this week we are going to be thinking about the opportunity and responsibility of freedom.

Returning to last week, you’ve developed he patience to wait, but sooner or later the question arises, which is the title of this week’s song; What comes next? In the musical, this is the song where King George III responds to American independence with that threat that freedom from British rule brings with it the challenges of decision and doubt.

The concept explored is one which is so relevant to wellbeing and ties closely with our understanding of the influence of perception. For the Americans in the musical, freedom can be an exciting or scary concept. Is it the opportunity to start anew and make their own way in the world as a fledgling nation, or, as King George III suggests, does it bring a terrible weight of responsibility?

What comes next? You’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead? You’re on your own. Awesome, wow! Do you have a clue what happens now?

It may seem an all too familiar dilemma. Certainly, in my experience as a Probation Officer, you could see this dynamic at play when people left prison. On one hand, they were now free, but on the other, free to do what? The choices ahead are influenced by the perception a person has which is informed by their past as well as their dreams for the future.

When we look on these dilemmas from the outside, they seem straightforward. Yet when we are in the midst of making choices ourselves, freedom can be a vast and unfathomable responsibility. Returning to our song:

It’s much harder when it’s all your call. All alone, across the sea.

But you don’t have to have been imprisoned or founding a nation to know this dilemma. All of us face similar choices. We have patience and wait for an opportunity in life to do something we’ve always wanted to do. But then, how free do we feel to make the choice and commit ourselves? For example, I remember when I left my apprenticeship and went to university aged twenty-two. I had my apprenticeship qualification, money in the bank, and no responsibilities. I was going to be given up a job I didn’t like for something that was new and exciting. But at the time that decision felt like a huge weight and one where I had much to lose. And, as my friends will testify, I really did lean into them in making the decision.

The freedom to choose can feel like a weighty responsibility. Yet, this is vastly informed by our own perception and understanding. In my dilemma, going opened up new opportunities and experiences. In Hamilton, choosing to reject British rule came at a cost, but one which I’m sure most American’s would feel was ultimately worth it.

So, perhaps you are facing choices too this summer. And perhaps, they feel like a huge weight. Yet, just maybe, they could be a real moment of freedom if there is a change of perception.

Do you have choices to make and don’t know what to do? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood?

Taken from the album Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)


Exploring and co-creating #wellbeing4all and community theology with individuals, businesses and communities. For the many, not the few.