Wednesday, March 7, 2012

...no more perfect offerings, Mr. Cohen, indeed



Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in
 from Anthem by Leonard Cohen


[NOTE: if I were you, I'd scoot down to the bottom, click on "Anthem" and listen to this glorious song while you read. Then, I'd probably listen to it again. Just a suggestion.]

Yesterday I strapped on snowshoes for the first time ever. At sixty. At long last, I can say that I have a winter sport. 

Dawn brought fresh snow...silent, soft, pristine. I watched from the sofa as Bill put on his skis, adjusted his goggles, and then glided down to the lift. Here's what he found at the summit.




At the end of the run, still the only skier in sight, he turned and took another photo.



One set of tracks - his - in the powder. He skied ten runs, each one magic. At one point he was joined by another resident, a seventy-six year old veteran of the slopes. Add another set of tracks and interesting conversation. When he finished his morning on the mountain, I heard a big plop at the window.



His best skiing ever, he said. A rhythmic ride on waxed wood (or whatever it is skis are made of now). And then he said, "Come on out and get on those snowshoes! A perfect day to start..."



So I did. Bill took a video of my first steps, before I graduated to the deep stuff. Pure joy. Finally, I have a winter sport of my own.


video

Not without a fall, however... 



A face-plant every now and then isn't such a bad thing. No more perfect offerings. What a gift to travel side by side with others who have fallen: shared grace. What a gift to travel side by side with Jesus: grace poured out. There's a crack - or two - in all of us. That's where the light shines in. And back out.

Leonard Cohen's beautiful song, Anthem, is playing as I write. I love the humility of his gracious opening and close. You can listen by clicking the title...and follow the lyrics below:

"Anthem"
The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, 
they've summoned up a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

2 comments:

GretchenJoanna said...

Oh, your back must be better...you can go snowshoeing! I did that once and thought it quite wonderful. The next day I could hardly walk for the sore muscles. ;-)
That poem is very timely. Well, when *wouldn't* it be timely? We need to ring those bells every day.
Thank you, Celeste!

Celeste said...

My back is better! Thank you. And loved the snowshoeing, the place...the silence of snow is peace-full. Here's to a good week, my friend!