The Light Gets In

Ring the bells that can still ring.

Forget your perfect opening.

There is a crack in everything. 

That’s how the light gets in. 

Leonard Cohen

Sometimes life hurts, sometimes life hurts a lot, and sometimes the hurt is unbearable, but we bear it in the moment and the next moment….  A baby is born, perfect only in a parent’s eyes. It’s only purpose to grow and thrive, and to love and  be loved. I think this is our purpose   throughout our life span, no matter how short or how long. Doing this “perfectly” is not possible. We all get broken by life in some way, there are no exceptions. The longer I live, the more scars I get. I have been beat up, but I’ve thrown some good punches too.

So what are my “…bells that can still ring?” I have an old electronic piano keyboard that has a few keys that are not perfectly in tune. I still play and enjoy it and work around the imperfect keys. My brain seems to fill in the note for me, and I still hear it in tune. I’ve adapted to this limitation because there is so much that is good about making music. I don’t always come up with the best word while I am writing, but that’s what a thesaurus is for. I have to say “no” more often, so I can say “yes” to what is most important to me. I have less people that I tell “ Call me day or night or 3 a.m. and I’ll be there if you need me.” I need my sleep. I have seen and felt horrible things and my soul and body will carry them everyday. Bad things happen to good and bad people. Not all wounds heal. My presence, my love, my friendship are bells I can still ring.

At times, I’ve actually believed that if I was perfect, or tried hard enough, I could make things happen. This makes me laugh now! There is no “perfect”, and if there were I suspect we would all be a bit bored. I now realize my desire to be perfect before I could act was a “perfect” excuse! What I see now is that going for this unattainable state before I acted meant I could avoid my fear, stay safe and avoid failure. There is nothing noble in avoiding life out of fear of failure no matter the reason. “Fake it till you make it.”sounds much more real and possible. It says to me “Just keep moving!” and “Now!”

We all know what a “broken” heart is. It’s not visible on an x-ray, but we’ve all felt it if we are human. The image is of a heart fractured, like a crack in a vase, a heart no longer whole. I am heartbroken. The losses I have experienced have cleaved my heart. My heart is still beating and although I am heartbroken by life I am not in despair. Most days I am happy and hopeful.  I call this courage and perseverance . Leather is softest when it is worn and cracked. My favorite shoes don’t look the same as when I took them out of the box, I’ve broken them in and they fit my foot very well. I am worn and broken in, soft, pliable and teachable.

A closed mind or a closed heart may block pain, but the light is also blocked. A closed heart blocks love, and a closed mind blocks the truth. So the light gets in when there is an opening or crack. It is impossible to navigate in complete darkness, or to see the beauty in my or my loved one’s soul. The light gets in to make me more compassionate towards myself and others. The words of Leonard Cohen and others others teach me and light my path:

Light is the symbol of truth.– James Russell Lowell. 

If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.  Rumi 

There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life, but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort….  – Hubert Selby, Jr.

So light a candle and pray for the people of Ukraine.

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