I love this quote by Leonard Cohen: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light get in.” I believe in flaws. That is where real living exists. But more and more, we are reluctant to reveal the truth of how we feel. When a friend asks how you are doing, do you respond with “good or fine” or are you able to reveal that things are really not as perfect as they appear? In the days of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and technology, it appears everyone is leading this life with perfect careers, marriages, and children.
Once upon a time a family lived on a street. This family had a mom, dad, and two sisters. Nothing extraordinary. Just a family living their lives. Right? Wrong. This family had a secret. A big one. One they kept for 4 years. The dad was dying of cancer. He asked the mom and the two sisters and the older sister’s husband to keep it a secret from everyone. What did everyone else see? They saw the family that danced at weddings, attended dinners, and talked about how everything was fine. What did this family do behind-the-scenes? They spent hours in waiting rooms, hospitals, and pharmacies hoping and praying. “Perfect” life on the outside, but the real truth, were these 5 people were hostage to cancer island.
This tale was my family’s story for 4 years. I still have no idea why we had to keep this “perfect” image intact. But we weren’t about to betray a dying man’s wish.
What people forget is that one rarely gets a glimpse into the behind the scenes look at anyone’s life. A few times over the last six months, a couple of acquaintances suggested that much of my life appeared as if it was perfect. That I have it all together. My initial reaction to this particular comment was, “Really? You really think my life is perfect?” I lacked a response because I could not fathom anyone uttering these words. Did these people really believe that I lived in an indestructible utopia? This erroneous perception rattled in my head for days, wondering where they arrived at that conclusion.
Here is a revelation. I struggle. With little thing and big things. Some of which is revealed in this space. But there are battles that I am not inclined to confess. Those are too personal, painful, and require a special level of vulnerability that I am much too scared to talk about. But they exist. Because like you, your neighbor, your friend, your spouse, your children, I am flawed. There are cracks everywhere.
The perfect life is one that I am reluctant to adopt. It is too safe. There is a risk and a chance of evolving when we confront our flaws. A chance for growth. A chance for people to learn that they are not alone. A chance for progress. A chance to be human.
And ultimately a chance for the light to get in.