Sunday, January 28, 2024

#28 / Anthem

I was feeling dispirited. And anguished, actually: About the world; About the wars that are raging, now, and that are ready to spin even further out of control than they already have; About politics; About my own troubles in life; About my own inadequacies and failures; About those feelings of hopelessness that undertake such stealthy warfare against our souls, until, at last, they bring us down. 

Oh, don't they laugh to see us fail and faint! Those evil feelings that convince us we have failed, that all hope's gone, that life is not a blessing, after all. 

They laugh to see it, those evil feelings - those evil spirits - to see us faint and fail. You know it's true. 

At such a moment, my sister, Nancy, inhabitant of France, an artist, sent me a link to Leonard Cohen's powerful poem, and song, Anthem. A link to a live performance is provided above. For those who would like more, there is a recent Netflix movie, too, focused not on Anthem, but on Hallelujah, another wonderful Cohen poem and song. Netflix subscribers might well be able to use this link to click on through to Hallelujah

In Anthem, the "go to" lines are these:

There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in

Those are, without a doubt, very powerful lines. They are a reminder (once again) that we live in a flawed and fatal world - and that we should celebrate that fact - that it really is, no matter what might tempt us to a different thought, a blessing to be alive. The very flaws in all we know is exactly how the grace and light get to us.

In listening to Anthem, however, I fastened on some other lines. As I listened to the performance I have linked above, here are the lines on which I seized: 

Ring the bell
That still can ring
Forget Your perfect offering

The line that tells us that there is "a crack in everything" is an observation. A true observation. But the lines about the bell are a command, advice that tells us what to do. 

We are called, always and forever, to ring the bell we can. Whatever we can do. However hopeless it might seem. That bell - the bell that we can ring.... Whatever bell that is, it is our job to ring it! 

Forget your "perfect offering." 

Our job at hand, our task, what we are commanded to do - and to do it in joy - is to ring that bell that we can ring. 

Whatever bell that I can ring. Whatever bell that you can ring. Whatever bell that we can ring.

It is, in every circumstance, our job to ring those bells. It is our blessing to be here to ring them. 

To be able to ring whatever bell we have at hand!

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1 comment:

  1. Love this sharing; love everything Leonard Cohen gave us.


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