For those of us who have lost loved ones, the grief can grab us by the throat at any time. As we all know, holidays are prime time for that. This Fourth of July finds me so vulnerable and weepy that all I can do is go with it. As Hannah Hurnard had” Little Much Afraid” do in her classic allegory, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, I must hold the hands of Sorrow and Suffering.
I am quite familiar with these two dear companions on the Way. They tell me that my heart is yet capable of opening wider to allow suffering humanity in. And it begins with my own. The mind is desperately seeking an escape route….the Hamptons or Paradise Island or wherever people go to “get happy.” That is not the road I am bound to take.
As I listen to Leonard Cohen and read his words, he is indeed the Bard of the Bereaved as well as anything else. I took “That’s How The Light Gets In” as the subtitle of Life With A Hole In It. For grief can no more vanish forever than I can. It is embedded in the light and therefore sheds its blessings upon me even as I type. It helps countless other people to read my words, for they see themselves in them. I know that. God seems to have appointed me a scribe for the heartbroken. I speak their language.
Of course grief is not my true nature, but it was said that Jesus was a man of sorrows. I prefer Leonard Cohen to a happy, snappy lounge singer any day. And there is a certain dark humor that thrives in a soul longing for solace. It is sly and shell-crackingly good. That’s one way the light gets in.
“Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty .”
― Leonard Cohen