I read recently that the intention behind Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” was to offer folks a different understanding of the term “hallelujah.” Rather than a redemptive religious message, he was aiming to offer a sense of acceptance and an ensuing embracement of life’s complicated messiness. To be able to raise one’s hands to the sky and belt out unabashedly the word “Hallelujah” offers an opportunity to acknowledge that life is hard, people can be unfair, and nonetheless we can choose to wholeheartedly reconcile this messiness within ourselves. We can choose to love life and remain committed to creating possibilities for others regardless of the messiness.
One such complicated/messy certainty of life is death. This week I learned of the deaths of two people. One friend’s brother died following a brief illness and the other died unexpectedly following routine surgery. This morning I awoke to the news of Jimmy Buffet and Bill Richardson’s deaths who each had influence on our world. Buffet through his vibrant music and lyrics; Richardson through years of public service as a long time politician and environmentalist/ humanitarian. All of these people seem to have died “suddenly”—a very human perspective. Yet—perhaps in a metaphysical sense, it was their souls’ time to leave this earthly plane. More so, perhaps “time” is measured differently in the metaphysical dimension.
In my last blog, I wrote about my fears of illness and aging. I am grateful to report that my three medical visits went well. I do need cataract surgery on each eye and those procedures have been scheduled for December. I learned that I have a small hiatal hernia which is requiring me to makes changes in my diet and lifestyle. Unless I have future problems, I don’t need any more colonoscopies! Hallelujah! And no anomalies were discovered during my dermatology appointment—I’ll return in six months.
So I say “Hallelujah” — I’m alive and healthy enough. I still have the desire to do what I love and make a difference in the ways that I can. Nonetheless, there’s always the unknown messiness of being human that we wake up to each morning and go to bed with each evening. I think Cohen is offering us a creative way to take the “bull by the horns” which equates with dealing with a difficult situation in a very direct or confident way. The messiness of our humanity is never going away. What is possible, however is cultivating a formidable acceptance of the messy marvelousness of life. I’m game!