Friday, October 9, 2009

That's How the Light Gets In

I was listening to Leonard Cohen's Greatest Hits album, and I heard this line in the song Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.

I hit the repeat button, and played the song a couple more times. That's it - there is a crack in everything. Forget being perfect. Nothing is perfect. The world is not perfect. I, most certainly, am not perfect. But rather than despair over that, as I am wont to do...this song says to celebrate it, be glad for it, rejoice. That's how the light gets in.

If you had told me, at age fifteen, what the next thirty years would hold for me, I would have said, "No, thanks. That sounds like one helluva ride that I am not about to go on. I have other plans." It's been a messy life, one full of bumps and stumbles, grief and loss, seemingly unendurable suffering. There have been, of course, good things, too. Beautiful, shining moments. But much of the time I was wandering and lost. And my pain was also heartbreaking to those who loved me, as they helplessly stood by and watched my relentless stubbornness, my cataclysmic collapses and long periods of mute retreat.

But here I am. Amazingly, still alive. Astoundingly, open hearted. Miraculously, rendered whole by the very things which I felt were splitting me apart.

And now, if I were to talk to that fifteen year old self, I would say: It's going to get rough. It won't always be pretty. But oh, the view, once you get there!

Not, of course, that I am "here" to stay. I'm sure there are more surprises ahead. Finally, though, I am in a place where I can actually feel tremendous gratitude for all of that living, that struggle, that cracked me open, to let the light come in.

Leonard Cohen - rock on!