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The kind of person who makes you question Leonard Cohen

I have a friend, a beautiful, soulful, hungry, hugely talented friend who puts her brokenness out there between us like a challenge. Can I love her, wounds and all? Can I see the breaks and the fissures and the canyons currently hidden from view and not run the other direction? Can I sit quietly with it and not judge? Can I just be with the entirety and the complexity of her and not simply buy the image that’s sold to the public at large?

She makes me think of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” and his well cited verse, “There’s a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in”. Only she makes me see how Cohen got it backwards. For me, when I look at her, or even myself these days, I hear it this way, “There’s a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets OUT”.

I live in a world of polished images. You see what people want you to see, even when you can feel every inch of the truth lurking dark and shapeless below the surface. They plaster in the cracks, paint over it so there’s only the slightest depression to give them away.

With her, it’s there, shining out and it’s spectacular. Even when she’s manipulating you because it’s an honest sort and it’s obvious and you know it and so you go along with it because there’s a brilliance to it and you don’t mind. And because there is just so much light radiating from her, radiating directly through these breaks, I know that she is in her heart nothing but love. So it’s all okay. Only she thinks she’s pulled one over. She knows she’s manipulating and so she feels bad about it, wonders when you’ll catch on, when you’ll push her away because she’s pursuing these base angles. And maybe she even thinks you’re angling yourself. When really, it’s all just so much light.  

That’s the problem with Cohen’s verse. Everyone’s worried about getting the light, about having it pour in to fill the cracks. What they don’t realize is that the light coming out is the real gift. She’s got it in spades. I bet you do, too. Goodnight, beautiful you.

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5 comments on “The kind of person who makes you question Leonard Cohen

  1. This is brilliant in every way, darling!

  2. I want to say something witty because that’s my defense against thoughtful, earnest things, but…I got nothin’.
    I do know people like your friend, though. I am going to try to start seeing them more like this so I get less frustrated.
    Thank you.

    • Thank you for this. And I do love your wit – it’s welcome here any time regardless of it’s motivation. I think we all know at least one person (I happen to know a few and this is a composite of those people) like this. I struggle with the push-pull from people like this, from people who want authenticity from me but won’t return it in kind. It’s hard because I want to scream, “I love you, no matter what. It’s real and it’s genuine and I know others haven’t been that way, but give me a chance.” It’s a hard thing at times.

      That said, I heard someone recently say that we are culture of wound worship. We glorify our cracks and our breaks and, because of it, we get stuck in our growth. (She didn’t say it exactly like that, so perhaps this is my interpretation of the issue she was raising.) Anyhow, I can see that side of it too. And that can be frustrating. Sometimes I want to say, “I KNOW. I know. Wounded. Can we talk about something else?” I think that’s natural. But the truth is, each and everyone of us is beautiful. And each and every one of us has at least a little split. And we’re all capable of nursing it. But that vulnerability, when we own that part of our journey (not worship it, just own it), shines a light for others, one of those, “See! I made it! I’m okay and you will be too!” kinds of light. And right now I think we all need a whole lot more light.

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