Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#BlogElul Day 21: Change

Rather than lament—as is the perennial disposition of the young—the gone glories of an earlier age, and rather than compare—as was the habit of so many Canadian writers before him—his own landscape unfavorably with some other, foreign, and more luminescent one, [Leonard] Cohen wrote poems that argued that his own place and time were brimming with detritus but also with holiness. He realized that a simple encounter between a man and a woman was worthy of the language and the passion of the biblical prophets. Rather than try to inflate the world to epic proportions, as Layton did,  Cohen made his universe seem ever grander by admitting just how awash it was with bigotry and violence and dumb lust.

-Liel Liebowitz, A Broken Hallelujah: Rock & Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen
We think the point of the holidays is to reflect on how we need to change ourselves and the world around us, but what if the purpose is to see the world more clearly, to change our perspective and point of view? To recognize not only the brokenness within and without, but the inherent holiness as well? 

To be sure our world is filled with abundant examples of evil and rot and selfishness, and we want to see it transformed, if not to some Platonic idyll, at least to something more fair, more loving, more secure, more whole and more holy. But we cannot redeem the world--or seek redemption ourselves--unless we are prepared to say the world is worthy of redemption, that in addition to the shards of broken vessels scattered throughout, there is also The Light. So too it is with us. We can change only when we think we're worthy of transformation; when we can accept fully our own value as ourselves and not as others--or we think others--wish us to be. 

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