“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen
This week we learned that Brian Williams, trusted news anchor, is human. He apparently suffered from a tendency to embellish a story. This is a characteristic of all good story tellers, but not one that is helpful in a person who is supposed to be telling us the news. But we love to see our celebrities falter. It is an ugly human trait that makes us feel superior when we see evidence of inferiority in another.
And yet who hasn’t embellished a story here and there? My own father was famous for his Friday Morning Messages, for always having a story to add a moral to a message. And his stories included people that he knew, or came from his own life. But like all good story tellers, he knew how to hook you, to surprise you, to make you laugh. And just to remind you that he wasn’t making it up, he would add his own version of the Jamaican assertion: “Is true you know”, with a slightly quizzical look on his face. How could anyone doubt him? That statement is included (with grammatical correction) on his gravestone.
We tend to be speedy when it comes to rushing to judgment. We hear (or read on facebook) one side of a story, and make our conclusions, without waiting for all of the facts to emerge. Especially when the first story confirms our own opinions. How would we like that if we were the object of the tale? Imagine if social media was around when we were teenagers? Suppose your every indiscretion was subject to being sent around the world in a youtube video? We are living in an era where we can no longer take privacy for granted. From personal photos to bank information, we are all just one hack away from total exposure.
It seems that it would behoove us therefore, to think before we add our voices to group condemnation of others. This applies to public stories of celebrities; to personal gossip in the office; to the nightly news. Have we considered all sides of the story before we jump to and start to expound on our conclusions? Have we remembered that we are all human, and all subject to similar failings and flaws?
In our personal interactions with others, we sometimes find ourselves on the defensive. We feel attacked by statements made by others, and instead of hearing the message, we hear the tone, the poor choice of words, and respond instinctively. I remember reading that we judge others by their actions, yet we judge ourselves by our intentions. When our own words are poorly chosen, when we lead with what sounds like an accusing tone, we still expect to be heard and are upset when our words stimulate anger in another. And then things escalate.
Yet self-forgiveness is an important act. Sometimes we waste precious energy on beating ourselves up about things we have done in the past. When we are down we revisit places and incidents that caused us pain, and we relive the experience all over again. Sometimes it almost feels good to wallow in self-pity, to use it as the excuse for why our lives aren’t perfect, why we haven’t achieved all that we can achieve. Yet it is that time we are spending reliving the past that prevents us from claiming the present. If we are to move on from a bad relationship; a painful childhood; from unfair treatment by a boss; we need to forgive ourselves for the part we played in it; bless the experience for all that it taught us; and then move on, unburdened by the woulda coulda shouldas that weight us down.
We have so many lessons to learn as we live and grow on this earth. We owe it to whoever we believe gave us this opportunity to make the most of it, and to be grateful. Let us look on our own humanity and the frailties of others with compassion, understanding that it is these flaws that remind us that we are all the same, all subject to failures and obstacles.
This weekend let us commit to showing more compassion and gratitude, more patience and understanding, more acceptance of the place we all have in this world. And if there are cracks in the perfection of another, remember, it lets the light in.
Have a wonderful weekend Family! So sorry I forgot to mention the 70th birthday last weekend of our own Jamaican Prophet Bob Marley. Of course he is included each week as I close with: