A Cold and Broken Hallelujah

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There’s a lot going on in my head lately. And in all of ours, I’d imagine. Aside from the hell than has been the first week post-election, there’s the 24,749 words and the 15 days I have left to write them, for starters. As desperately as I would love to dive headfirst into the fantasy world I’m creating, it’s like there’s a bellhop in my brain, and no matter which floor I wish to go to, he just keeps hitting the big red “PANIC” button. Really, someone ought to fire that guy… So in order to fend of the great alligator that is anxiety, I turned to the one thing that helps release all the build-up in my mind. Music.

It wasn’t long before I found myself in a rabbit hole. “Hallelujah” has always been one of my favorite songs, albeit I’d only known of the Rufus Wainwright version. So when I saw Leonard Cohen, the original composer, had passed last week, I felt I needed to hear his rendition. So I listened to Cohen’s version of the song, then of Wainwright, Jeff Buckley. Inevitably, I came back to a version that, coincidentally, has had my rapt fascination for the past few weeks from a group that has yet to disappoint me. Pentatonix.

There’s something beautiful about A Capella. The harmony that’s required for multiple voices to resonate with such passion without the help of instruments…

I cannot begin to articulate what I felt singing along to this- all the rage, the fear, the disgust, the regret, the confusion, the pain- from the past few months to the past few years. Every uncried tear flooded out from me as I bellowed this with every ounce of broken, battered strength I could muster.

The Universe has been in the habit of reminding me lately that two people can be party to a single experience and walk away with very different interpretations. I have spent the past five years trying to tell up from down, and then turning around and second-guessing my own thoughts, sanity, existence, nearly every chance I got. Over time the lines between Wonderland and Reality have begun to grow clearer. Occasionally the Cheshire Cat beckons from his high perch, inviting me to play the old “this way, that way” game, but otherwise, things are quiet.

And yet I don’t find the solace in this that I had anticipated. There was no crescendo of recognition- no definable denouement to the psychological unraveling. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never have answers to my questions, as the kaleidoscopic sense of reasoning was always changing. And it always will. Closure will never come, I know now. Still I’m tapping my pen against the signature line for Radical Acceptance- the bellhop’s finger hovering above that big red button.

In regards to his song, Cohen explained:

“The world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled but there are moments when we can transcend…and reconcile and embrace the whole…mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’”

Waking up is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

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