In the midst of holiday celebrations I felt my imperfections more. As I stood in a darkened church sanctuary on Christmas Eve I stared at the glowing cross and felt the scars of my brokenness. In the stillness of Christmas Eve I felt sadness and pain.
Over the past four weeks I’ve listened to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah play over my car speakers at the loudest volume possible. I sang the lyrics and wept through the impact of each word. Each lyric echoing through my head and into my soul every single day.
I oscillate between feeling whole and broken, grateful and disappointed, happy and sad. On Christmas Eve, in that moment of absolute peace that overcomes a church sanctuary as everyone raises their candle in celebration, we shouldn’t feel sad or alone or pain. We should let go of all those emotions that keep us tied to the past. I know this yet I still stumble on my path towards grace. In my need and desire to believe that life can go smoothly, I am still living in fear that things will fall apart. Broken trust has crept into my my minds-eye. This broken trust creeps into my relationships and holds me back. I often live with more fear than joy, and that is a problem. I want to know that a broken hallelujah can still be beautiful, and that coldness is not death or failure. Being alone is not something to fear. Love is appreciating what is.
In my never-ending quest to understand I found this quote from Leonard Cohen about the lyrics that I’m holding onto so tightly:
Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.
I have yet to come to terms with my own fallen nature, my brokenness, the cracks that, perhaps, are equally as valuable as my perfections. It’s easy to get caught up in pain, failure, and disappointment but we must surface and rise to appreciate what is. It is impossible to get through this life with your heart and mind undamaged by life, but we can find and feel joy, peace, love, and hope. As 2017 comes to an end, I want 2018 to be filled with balance. An understanding that failure and joy can coexist within.