We spend a lifetime building them. We lay the foundation for them and carefully work to create stability and equilibrium. Our ego, our self-esteem, our relationships, all intangible but essential to our sense of safety and security. 

But, inevitably something happens. Self-doubt invades. We make a mistake and wonder what happened. We don’t live up to our own expectations and beat up on ourselves. We are betrayed or hurt and our relationships feel fragile. We lose our job and doubt our worth. 

And it is at times like this that we can sing with meaning the words of Leonard Cohan in his classic Anthem: “There is a crack in everything.” It doesn’t seem to matter how hard we try, that which we love seems to always give way to the aging, decaying, breaking reality of mortal life. Storms come, foundations crack, windows break, walls warp.

But, if we are able to hold on, sometimes hope comes, “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” The cracks in the secured ego allow the of the outside in and more of who we are to be revealed. It can allow light to shine into the unexplored regions of our self-understanding or our relationships. We can know more fully who we are.

Sometimes the truth isn’t easy to see. The light reveals things that we would rather not know. Our confusion about who we are can frighten us and make us reluctant to step out and give ourselves to relationships in the future.

Or, we can relax and sing the other part of the song’s refrain, “Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” None of us is whole. We are all cracked. Our offering to each other will never be perfect.  So, forget your perfect offering and give yourself, cracked and broken, filling with light.