Hamilton blew me away.

I watched it again last night. I was lucky enough to see it live in London and Salt Lake City. I love that Hamilton fought hard to chase his dreams and create influence and a legacy. “I’m not going to miss my shot!” has inspired me in my new venture to have similar confidence to push forward into uncomfortable places to create something awesome. From his humble beginnings, Hamilton climbed to the position of Washington’s ‘right-hand-man.’ His story is also a clear reminder of the temptations and traps along the way that could derail our personal and professional dreams.

He had his shot, and he did great things with that opportunity. But, I wonder how his story would be different if he had remained faithful to his wife and family.

There are lots of lessons. One that resonated with me is that each of our histories will be riddled with mistakes and regrets. We look back on our founding fathers with appropriate admiration. But, they were simply humans just like the rest of us. I listened to an NPR podcast this weekend about Jefferson and the contradiction of him being a slave owner and yet also the author of some of the greatest words in human history…“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Maybe the greatest miracle of the founding fathers isn’t that they were the super-heroes we sometimes ascribe to them, but that despite each of their faults, failures, and mistakes they set in motion the creation of the greatest nation on earth. Like them, our nation is also a reflection of faults, failures, and mistakes. But like each of us, our nation (and the world) is a work in process. The biggest danger to the continued progress is the pride of believing it’s not needed. I can be better. You can be better. We can be better. We can work together to (continue to) form a ‘More Perfect Union.’ May God give us the wisdom and the strength to do just that.

May we also have the strength to avoid judging each other (and our ancestors) based solely on our mistakes and failures. And instead, let’s look for common ground and shared commitment to do better.

Thankfully the Ultimate Judge has agreed to set aside our mistakes and sins and Judge us based on our potential rather than our failures. I thank God for the gift of hope that allows me to look forward instead of backward.