“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
–Leonard Cohen, Anthem
“A crack in everything.” As a broken person I appreciate hearing the wisdom of this particular poet. I am intensely aware of being very different then others. I worked my way through college frying donuts and it was a challenge. After about six months my boss was telling everyone that, “Bryan is one of the most eccentric people I have ever met.”
I was not trying to be odd, or eccentric. I was taking “Greek” at the time and knew that eccentric was a contraction (of ek, meaning “off, or the one side,” and “centros,” meaning, “center”). He was basically saying that I was “off centered”. That really troubled me because I always felt like I was a very well-balanced person and fit in.
The above poem tells us certain things, it holds a simple truth. First, there are bells that can’t be used, they don’t work anymore. Second, we need to “get real” and to understand that “a perfect offering” is beyond our capability.
Maybe 20 years ago idealism would’ve carried the day for us. But, as we get older, we have figured out a thing or two, but by the time you turn 50, you start carrying a total other awareness of things. By then we see the cracks in everything, nothing has gone by untouched, or unscathed.
But the poet states a paradoxical truth, “that’s how the light gets in.” To learn this is to turbocharge your recovery. It takes your recognition of the reality of being a broken person. It also summons up a discernment of how we must grow spiritually.
I find that the broken, weak, burned-out people are closer to the Kingdom then the strong, suave and gifted. This is an incredible truth, we must see our brokenness is in all the right places. You see, that is how the light gets in.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”