Do you feel a little broken? Patrick Watson asks on a Friday night. Of course I do. Who doesn’t? I’m not falling into a thousand pieces, I am not completely broken, but for sure there are more than a few cracks in my being. Here and there. You can see the glue sticking out between two pieces here, the stitches of an imperfect sewing technique hanging out there.
I used to pray for a flawless life. I used to think that the more seamless, the better. That excellence path was mine. I was reaching for the stars, getting everything I wanted, one thing after the other. I simply had to ask the Universe and life was unfolding according to my plan.
I struggled to maintain that picture perfect. While it looked amazing most of the time from the outside, the void inside was unbelievable. There was a deep, deep hole, and I had no idea how to handle that. It wasn’t a crack, it was an abyss. I was an empty sea shell. The small animal that once had chosen me as a home was far gone. The only thing left was the ushering of the sea when you took the time to listen very closely.
I listened. I listened to that quiet little voice inside me, guiding me back towards the vast ocean. Slowly, a miracle happened. Life was brought back to the sea shell. The animal long gone came back to inhabit its home. But the animal wasn’t comfortable on the beach, laying in the sun. Its true habitat is the sea.
Therefore, bits by bits, sometimes through lots of efforts, sometimes by surrendering to the tide, the animal got closer and closer to the wide ocean, until one day it finally reached it.
I am swallowed in the sea. It feels both amazing and completely scary. Lying on the shore, everybody can see how beautiful you are, how fragile you look, but not much’s happening. The sea is full of surprises: unexpected rocks, huge fishes, constant movement. You can’t control your destiny. Damn, you can’t even swim properly. Some days, you get bumped, your shell cracks a bit. On others, you might appear as a delicious dinner for some other folk, and here again, your shell takes the jab. On the outside, it looks like you are having a though life. Yet, on the inside, you are, no matter what, still fully alive. There is no void. The hole is gone.
I am so not where I thought I would be. My ego is crushed. My heart hurts. According to my inner critic, I am a failure. I am 28. I was supposed to be married by that time, and my lovely blond twins should already be four years old. And here I am, in my Snuggie on a Friday night, eating some soup out of a cup with a tea spoon because I have no proper dish yet and only one spoon I have to wash over and over again.
It’s not the life I had expected, but it’s still a life, and it’s mine, which makes me love it anyway. Up to now, every morning that I woke up, I was still breathing, and that by itself is a miracle. I have a roof over my head and food in my plate. I am surrounded by friends and family, wherever I go there is love. I may have less stuff, but I now live in abundance.
Suffering can be the thing that cracks you wide open, and that’s when the healing happens. It’s the very thing that makes you grow. It’s crazy how much I used to be afraid of suffering, and was planning my life in order to avoid any form of pain. That took away years of my life. Years I will never get back. Now only do I realize how much potential for growth there is in any experience, even the most painful ones. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe that we attract what we deserve, or that there is meaning behind any tragedy. But I do believe that whatever comes our way we can handle, and that as we do so, we grow stronger.
Of course, again, shoutout to Lenny: there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. And the light is all we need. The light is more than what we need. It is around us, within us. As above, so below, as within, so without. The cracks are the fine lines that help both reunite into one, warm, comfortable luminescence. The cracks are what brings us home, our fully enlighten home.