That’s How the Light Gets In
Recently during the Jewish High Holiday services, a time of reflection and renewal, I had the pleasure of hearing Rabbi Darby Leigh speak. Rabbi Darby was born profoundly deaf, and he’s fond of saying, “I may be deaf but I listen really well”. And indeed he does. He’s also extremely thoughtful when he speaks, and frequently calls upon music (most often very loud music like Twisted Sister) as a source of inspiration for his comments. When I heard him most recently he called upon Leonard Cohen’s iconic words in “Anthem” in which he sings “there is a crack, a crack in everything…. that’s how the light gets in, that’s how the light gets in.
Our world and the expectations we bring to it and those others impose upon us and it can be intense. And failing those expectations can feel core-shattering. I see that with clients, and feel privileged when I’m allowed to usher them through a time that can feel soul crushing, when it’s easier to see and focus on the crack than the light.
But truly, there is beauty in the light and I’m gratified when clients find that illumination. I witness it when people move from their old patterns and expectations of themselves and their families into a life of new possibilities. It’s not only a matter of “moving on”, it’s a matter of “moving toward”. It’s imperative for divorcing clients (and incumbent upon their lawyers) to change the paradigm from tearing something apart, to constructing something new – perhaps something even better.
I’m reminded of the traditional Navajo culture, where there’s a teaching that after weaving a perfect rug, they should interrupt one stitch to let the world in, and also of the Chinese potters of some lost and ancient dynasty, who after having finally completed a flawless work, would create a small chip to let their soul out.
Although when most people marry, they enter into that bond intending “until death do we part”, we know that half of all first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Ignoring that fact doesn’t help individuals, families or our society restructure in deliberate and thoughtful ways. However, at the painful juncture of a dissolution and rebuilding, illumination is possible, and with it the opportunity to build a future journey, and live a life of depth and meaning.