A friend sent me this quote by Leonard Cohen: "Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I've viewed myself as damaged—not scratched, but seriously life-threateningly damaged. I spent most of my energy covering over the cracks that symbolized the damage. I labored endlessly to hide the cracks and hoped they would disappear. Most times, I was more willing to allow the internal pain, suffering, and anxiety to build to a bursting point rather than allow others to see the cracks in my façade.
The Cohen quote gave me a new perspective. While I was hiding, I didn't realize I was blocking out the sunlight that brings joy into life and makes me a person others desire to be around. By patching over the cracks, I lost the opportunity for the real me to ring out with joyful, healing sounds.
Today, I accept the cracks, large and small, and I feel joy in the resonance my life has in my ability to encourage and support others. Sometimes there are harsh tones that represent the mistakes of life. I pray to learn from them, and not allow them to silence my ring. My tone is distinctive, because I embrace the uniqueness of my own bell.