“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 someone who has experienced brokenness in my life, I appreciate the wisdom of these simple words. You see, I am intensely aware of being different then others.
I had a night job working my way through school frying donuts. I remember clearly an incident were I overheard my boss telling someone that, “Bryan is one of the most eccentric people I have ever met.” Now I honestly was not trying to be odd, or eccentric.
To put this in perspective, I just happened to be taking N.T. Greek at the time and knew that the word for eccentric was a contraction, (of ek, meaning “off, or off to one side, and “centros”, meaning, “center”). He was saying that I was “off centered”. That really troubled me because I always felt like I was intensely stable, and very much a well-balanced person. (But I was just 22. I guess that fact alone explains much.)
Cohen’s poem tells us certain things. First, he describes bells that can’t be used, they don’t work anymore. Second, he tells us of our need to get real and to understand that “a perfect offering” is beyond our capability. Maybe 30 years ago, ‘naive idealism’ might have carried the day for us. But now I’m in my mid-50s and I have tried to figure out a thing or two. By then we start to see the cracks in everything, nothing has gone by untouched. We live in a fallen and broken world.
But the poet delivers a paradoxical truth, he states, “that’s how the light gets in.”
To learn this deeply, is to turbocharge your recovery. You’re a broken person. But that is actually a good thing. It summons up a discernment of how we grow spiritually.
I find it quite astonishing that the broken, weak, and the burned-out are closer to the Kingdom then the strong, the sure, and the gifted. This is a rich and an incredible truth, we are to see our brokenness and ruination in a whole different perspective. We must see that that is how the light gets in.
“Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”
“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”
- Monday Motivation 7/1/13 (sonyacole.com)
- It Will Find A Way (hope4usnow.wordpress.com)
- Leonard Cohen: Anthem – Ring the bells (janetsnotebook.com)
- Canada: Leonard Cohen: The Future (jobblog2011.wordpress.com)