“…the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may”. – John F. Kennedy
I borrow this remark to begin my little reflection since I’ve just read it in a book I’ve just borrowed: The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah” by Alan Light. The author quotes Cohen’s remarks about his infamous song:
“This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled, but there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’ That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say, ‘Hallelujah! Blessed is the name.’
That’s the point I’ve reached.
You know, we bloggers stress over this (in my case) unpaid gig. We look at the onslaught of emails in our Inboxes asking for favors, and the flies hiking up the mountain of dishes in the kitchen sink, and the reflux-inducing stress of work and life, and we think: “How am I going to blog this week when I’ve barely introspected?”
At least, that’s the life of an introverted blogger. Me. When I’m short on words, you can guess that I’ve also been short on sleep and prayer and every other quieted exercise.
Funny enough: A few weeks ago, God altered my life with — what I described to my spiritual director and a few close friends as — a miraculous healing. Not of my physical ailments, but of spiritual, emotional, and psychological ones. I had a prayer experience which, after I opened my eyes and lifted my head, left me with a sense of peace I cannot recall feeling since childhood. Hallelujah.
Then, the Machine called Life cranked along. Human frailty kicked in. Those lovely, feminine hormone cycles worked their magic. I did not feel a ‘Hallelujah’ — nor did I feel much at all. I couldn’t even think of feeling. Prayer became a constant, tiring struggle that I engaged because I knew I’d be worse without it.
And blogging? Well, blogging was impossible. My personal standards forbid me from blogging when my interior life is wreathed in a thick haze. (Who wants to read a blog post that feels like intellectually skimming through someone else’s thought-vomit?)
Back to JFK: Just as in poetry, music, and painting, blogging requires that the blogger ‘remain true to himself’.
Authenticity is why Heather King gains instant fans by writing a single paragraph or speaking for two minutes. The woman oozes original, honest thoughts. That ‘remaining true to himself’ is the success of almost every well-read blogger on the digital continent.
On the contrary, when a blogger’s life is as I’ve just described — clouded, cluttered, and noisy beyond comprehension — ‘remaining true to himself’ means, in my view, not blogging. And that’s when ‘remaining true’ can be the kiss of death.
So, God bless you who read this; who’ve stuck through it. My blog once appeared dead, but has come back to life. For now.
Despite that Machine called Life, that human frailty, those hormone cycles, the mountaineering insects, and the Inbox…I’ve been blessed with moments to reflect, read, and stare into space. So, in the midst of the mess, here’s my somewhat warm and broken