June 14, 2018 by Dymphna

There’s a crack in everything

You are hurt and messy. And that’s great.

I always loved that Leonard Cohen line:

“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

It’s from the song ‘Anthem’, and I’m surprised that it often gets lumped in with his ‘political’ songs.

I find it one of the most personal and touching of his songs, and especially this line.

I think we spend so much time working on our faults, healing our wounds, or just trying to hide them from others, that we forget the value they have.

We come to see them as something like an appendix – part of us, but not serving any useful purpose.

But we are imperfect. All of us. And we are all hurting. All of us. In our different ways.

This hurt and the inner wonkiness is part of the human condition. It’s what makes us human. We are nothing without our ‘cracks’.

But we all pretend – to each other but also to ourselves – that we don’t have any. That’s everything is perfect.

But we miss an opportunity here – to turn towards the light – the light coming through the cracks.

Our hurt and imperfections have the capacity to call out our most beautiful human expressions – our compassion, our care, our love, our forgiveness.

None of these things would exist – could exist – without the cracks in the human soul calling them through.

“That’s how the light gets in.”

And how bland would the world be, how boring would we be, how dull would our relationship to ourselves be, without these spectrums of light?

Angels are lovely, but have you ever had one over for dinner? Boring as bat-sh!t.

So rather than turning our faces from our hurts and imperfections – glossing them over and pretending that they never existed – there is an opportunity to turn towards them, to make friends with them, and to see them as the source of light that they are.

And I’m not talking about that new-age tendency to try and bypass the problem by transmuting it – using the force of your will to say, I’m not going to mourn the loss of this relationship. I’m going to see it as a source of growth instead. I’m not sad. I’ve decided to be happy.

It’s not one or the other. It’s both. It’s the ability to say, I am devastated by the end of our relationship, AND I also see that there is compassion and a tenderness coming through here too. I have been given a new opportunity to love and care for myself, and hold myself tenderly in my own sadness.

And in that, we join the great family of things. We join every messy, imperfect thing on the planet, crying out in its pain, and we see that we are not alone.

“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

This is some pretty advanced humaning.

But what else would you expect from Leonard Cohen.