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Sunday, March 6, 2016

"Ring the bells that still can ring"

Begin Again

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...

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in...”
Leonard Cohen (“Anthem”)

This song by Leonard Cohen has been on my mind for days. Written decades ago, it still resonates today. How often do we start again? How often do our lives get derailed, and we are called upon to pick up the pieces? Only now, they no longer fit together in the same way, so we must create something new. I think of Diane Rehm's memoir, On My Own. She married young, stayed married for more than fifty years and then her husband, who had Alzheimer's disease, took his own life. I have a friend who has been working for the same company for twenty years. Two months ago, he was let go. Other friends recently received the news that their child is on the Autism Spectrum. All of them must begin again.

Life is filled with moments when we simply lay down one life, and pick up another. The circumstances are not always traumatic—falling in love, getting married or moving in together, having a first baby are joyous events. All the shuffling roles that life deals us are like playing cards in a grand poker game. They cause us to feel awkward for a while, to feel as though we are walking on ground being shaken by an earthquake. They require that we adapt, so even good happenings are stressful. Change is the very nature of life.

Most of us approach change with fear in some form. It's human to feel afraid when “your perfect offering” is yanked out from under you, and you don't know where you may land. It is how we deal with change that makes all the difference. If we allow the fear to take over, to guide our decisions and veil our days, we will have difficulty moving forward. If we decide to acknowledge the fear, but embrace the change, we will move forward with momentum on our side. Accepting fear, but acting anyway, is the crack through which the light gets in. We “ring the bells that still can ring” and then start over.

                                                       In the Spirit,

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