Glory to It, All
It must have been 1971 or 1972. I remember sitting in the darkened theater as the movie, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, destined to become my always-favorite flick, was beginning. I sat next to my former husband, a million miles away. I can sense the oceans of distance that achingly separated me from that good man to whom I was married. Yet as the opening of the movie unfolded, I felt myself flowing effortlessly out of my isolation into the Old West mining camp the movie was painting. The music called me forth, evocatively and viscerally and intimately. So much more vital than the numbing reality of my life, the music beckoned me into a place of feeling and connection. At the end of the opening credits, I saw his name for the first time: “Music by Leonard Cohen”.
My life seemed to unfold next to Leonard’s music. The soundtrack of my break up’s, of new attempts at “getting my shit together”, of new chapters all were framed by and reflected in the poetry of his songs. Often I didn’t fully understand all his lyrics; nevertheless they deeply touched into my vulnerability, acknowledging both my hopelessness as well as my hope. As I fumbled toward sobriety and a tiny, emerging spirituality, his songs, both newer and earlier written, followed me forward, a lyrical flashlight on my path.
Hallelujah, with over 300 covers by other artists, is Leonard’s stunning pronouncement of faith. Analysis of its lyrics abounds. Suffice to say, for me, the song honors both the no as well as the yes, the hopelessness as well as the hope, the fear as well as the faith. This message of non-duality, always essential to me with my easily frightened heart, now becomes essential in our political transition. To imagine that all that happens is grace—as the Big Book of AA says, “Either God is everything or God is nothing”—this is a message in these darkening days I need.
I’m so eager and delighted to share this cover of Hallelujah, by P.S. 22, a public school choir of ever-changing fifth-graders from Staten Island, N.Y. Check out this is outrageously heart-centered version. This choir is the one we all should joined, abounding with connection and love. Every year 65 kids are chosen to participate in this now-world famous group of angels. Under the guidance of Gregg Breinberg, these kids claim the music as their own and soar. As full and connected individuals, they come together with a grace and a hallelujah that my heart needs. I’m grateful to share it with you today.
Dear Folks, what are you hallelujahs for today? For what do you sing praise? Please let me know how the kids of P.S. 22 landed for you.