There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
A couple of years ago, we moved back to our hometown in an effort to raise our kids in a wonderful place, to be closer to our parents (and our kid’s grandparents) and so that I could pursue what I thought was a “dream” coaching job.
Two of the three have worked out splendidly.
During our initial move, I recognized that we were in a transitional and challenging phase in our lives. I felt a particularly strong need to lead my family during this time of change and a bit of uncertainty, as we took on new jobs, started in new schools, lived with family for a stretch, and searched for a new home.
So I reached out to some former mentors of mine. Well, if I’m honest, I would probably call them childhood heroes. They were men of my childhood whom I’d long admired. They were deacons from the church, and youth league coaches, and mighty men (to me). They were also husbands, fathers, and community members, who I saw as holding many of the characteristics that I hoped to one day display in my life.
I’d observed them, from both near and far, from a fairly young age, and learned a great deal from them both by their words and deeds.
Once we were settled in, I reached out and asked if they’d be willing to meet with me periodically, and mentor me in some regard, as we went through our new challenge as a family. I had no real plan in place, I just knew that I wanted to get better as a husband, father, and as a man, and I saw these men as shining examples for me in that regard.
The last time I’d viewed them, it was through the eyes of a 6 -16 year old. I’d seen all of their shiny spots. I’d seen all of the good things they did, and all of the great things I’d felt they’d achieved. Instagram wasn’t around then, and neither of them would have used it if it was. But that was the part of their lives I’d seen, mostly. The snapshots showing their greatness, the families they’d stewarded, and all of their best traits.
But an interesting (and a little bit unsettling) thing happened after I started meeting with them. I found out they weren’t perfect. I noticed some of their cracks.
They were late to our meetings sometimes and sometimes they had to cancel on me. One, who had taught me great life lessons, was a bit awkward and uncomfortable in this role of mentor and life guider. In my eyes, he had filled that role so well when I was a kid, but as I sat across from him now, it was different. Maybe it was him, but probably it was my perspective. There was a choppiness to his delivery, a discomfort, perhaps, in this responsibility I’d placed on his shoulders.
One of the men sometimes seemed preoccupied with his job. He had his own business, and the responsibility of its’ success rested largely with him. He was also clearly uncomfortable in this role I had asked him to fill. I’d never seen him flustered before, he was always a very smooth operator, a trait that I’d long admired from afar. But in this setting, I saw things differently. He struggled to know what to do next, where to guide the conversation, or what exactly I wanted out of our meetings.
Partly, I’m to blame. I had no agenda either. It probably felt a little bit like,
“I’m here for you to make me a better man! Let’s talk about that!”
I don’t know that anyone really knows what to do with that. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, so I can’t expect them to either. So my comments are not in blame, just in honest observation.
And I didn’t find great disappointment, just humanity.
The point is, as I’ve gotten older, and seen people through a different lens, I’ve started to see more of the cracks. And quite honestly, it was unnerving for me at first, as I met with these men, and struggled with the reality of who they are, as compared to who I thought they were. I wasn’t really comfortable with seeing the cracks, and at first, I questioned my childhood perspective.
Maybe I’d seen them that way because I was a child, and simply didn’t know any better. Maybe this new perspective that I had was the right perspective. Maybe they weren’t as great as I’d thought they were. Maybe they had changed.
Perhaps my perspective on this sounds very immature and off base to you. And maybe I’m the only one who has experienced this. All I can say is that this was an honest experience for me, and hopefully there is some value in the story for you.
As I wrestled with this new reality, and worried that these mighty men were nothing more than ordinary guys full of cracks, I came to this realization:
These were ordinary guys, full of cracks, and they were mighty men. And, this was great news!
It took me some time to arrive at this conclusion, but it was very reassuring, because while I may not have always been able to fully see their cracks and flaws, I am (mostly) fully aware of mine. So as I reflect on the fact that they have been great leaders for their families, their church, and their community, I think maybe there is hope for me to do the same, with all of my cracks.
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
And I realized (or was reminded), that perhaps this is how the goodness of God gets into us, and really, maybe how others really see the goodness of God coming out of us.
The light has to get in, and what better way for God’s grace and mercy to do so than through our cracks and flaws?
Maybe this isn’t the same for everyone, but for me, when I see people who are loving God, serving people, and working to live an honorable life, and they do so while living with and allowing God to shine through their flaws, it is even more magnetic.
When I’ve been able to get comfortable with my cracks, and trust that God can shine through them, it’s when I’ve been able to best love God, serve people, and make progress towards living an honorable life.
Largely, I think this is the essence of my faith.
Honoring the gifts I’ve been given by trusting that God is big enough, merciful enough, and gracious enough to shine through my cracks.
I can see clearly now, that he has done that through many people who have impacted my life significantly. It’s not disheartening to see their cracks, it’s of great encouragement. Flawed men can do great things, as the grace and goodness of God gets into and pours out of their cracks.
Everything has cracks, that’s how the light gets in.