I want to argue in defense of breaking. Sometimes life is hard and the glass of which we are made refuses to be malleable, even under intense heat. We keep our form, holding on to the shape of what is like our lives depend on it, finding survival in a lethal status quo. At those times, life depends on our capacity to break. to open our hearts, to trash the facade of “fine,” to embrace radical change, to bust through barriers of judgement and fear, to let our light shine in the darkness that only it can illuminate. Life can be found in our capacity to break.
One of my favorite Leonard Cohen lyrics
Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in.
Many artists have spoken that truth
Loving the lyric, I did a little research and found out that Emerson, Hemingway, Rumi, and others have also spoken of the brokenness of life in similar ways. Across all the interpretations, there are similar ideas. That makes sense to me. There must be a bit of truth to be found there.
It is often easy to get caught up in the race to be perfect. Perfection can look like comparison. Perfection can look like judgement. Perfection can look like criticism. The search for perfection can lead to perpetual disappointment, pain, and even paralysis. Embracing life’s cracks means embracing perfection and gently letting it go as we move toward letting our light in.
Our Brokenness Is Holy
I think of the moments when I have felt the most broken. The moments when I am down on my knees asking for help. We have all had those moments. Those moments are holy. Those are the moments when loved ones emerge to carry us. Those are the moments when our inner strength and steel support us. Those are the moments when a spiritual force can hold our hands and guide us. Those dark moments allow a dawn.
Light Is Found In Breaking
Often it is when I break that I get in touch with something deep and real inside. Breaking allows clarity. Breaking allows our precious truth be born. If our light is supposed to shine, and I believe it is, then breaking is essential to being who we are asked to be in this world. Look for the light. Run to it. Drink it. Dance with it. Hold it. It is from that place things will make true sense.
In Breaking We Are Whole
If a point of who we are as people (as friends, spouses, parents, children, neighbors, colleagues, community members, … ) is connection, then sharing our brokenness can make us whole as individuals and communities. Our courage to to be honest and vulnerable is central to being whole. Think about the lightness that comes when we share our stories and find comfort, feel less alone, and become whole.