Life’s Cracks

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the times in life when things didn’t go exactly as expected – life’s cracks, so to speak. They can be seen as positive or negative, but it seems impossible to walk through life without stepping on cracks. And, perhaps learning to dance with the cracks is the journey of life. “There is a crack in everything that you can put together: Physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind. But that’s where the light gets in,” wrote Leonard Cohen in his song “Anthem.”

Sometimes we are nimble enough to saunter over the cracks. Sometimes we slip in, touch the light with our tiptoes and spring back out. Sometimes we fall down into the darker spaces and can’t crawl out for a long time. But eventually we pull ourselves out, perhaps even carrying a scar from the crack with us. Sometimes we see the cracks, but close our eyes and hope they go away. Sometimes we become so afraid of getting close to the cracks that we steer clear of them.

As the cracks widen, we run away, trying to avoid them. We isolate ourselves, close in and shut down, all to avoid the cracks. We become so afraid that the cracks take on the illusion of something far bigger than they are, much like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave inside which people saw their shadows from the fire they built and believed those shadows to be monsters outside. All they had to do was turn around and face the wall where the shadows landed to see the truth. There are cracks in caves as well.

Perhaps our healing begins when we breathe in the courage to face the cracks. Maybe we slip in and climb out or maybe we stroll by, but either way, we make it through. And then, perhaps together, we learn to understand, appreciate and even be grateful for the cracks.

Here’s to breathing deeply and allowing all the light in.

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