My fabulous friend Barbara Johnson sent me an email forward the other day that said at the end of the email, “Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.“ I recognize that it is meant to be a humorous statement, not a profound edict from on high, but it sticks with me because I think it is true – the cracked do let in the light and that is “a good thing” (as my pal Martha Stewart would say).
It also reminds me of some photos that I pulled off Facebook once upon a time and have been meaning to share for over a year now (I’ll apologize at the outset that I cannot recall who to attribute these to – no doubt they come from someone linked to the emergency management community – if you recognize the handiwork of the person owed the credit please do let me know so I can give them their due). I share the photos and my thoughts on the saying in concert below.
There are those who would diminish the so-called “cracked” folks in society because they don’t always conform with societal norms or see the world the way that the majority of folks do. Those that are different often can make folks uncomfortable.
After all, society is all about compliance on some level right? That is how we build communities on shared thoughts and ideals. Indeed, we are programmed on some level based on being social animals to find areas of coalescence – places where we can identify that we have shared interests, dreams and goals. Yet as strongly as we are pushed innately toward such coalescence, there are some who willfully self-define the level of coalescence they will buy into. There are some who swim against the tide with purpose and determination without regard for the struggles they will face by doing so.
They do what feels right for them, they hold true to their beliefs and vision of the world no matter how different it may be from the mainstream…and in the process they may come to be viewed as “cracked”.
But take a good look at the cracked throughout civilization’s history – there have always been those who saw things differently and in the process brought in a light that made changes in the way the rest of the folks understood the world. Even so, too many of the cracked were never fully embraced for their contributions until after their deaths (and often years and maybe decades later) because those in their time still couldn’t appreciate the value in their light.
It takes a strong person to go through life cracked. Often folks attribute some level of insanity or stupidity to the cracked – there is an assumption that the best things lie within the norms of society in the safe place of the common. But on all fronts the cracked are extraordinary if for no other reason than they are different.
I think we should all try to be cracked a bit – even if it means we have to go outside our comfort zone…even if that means we feel as if we are living life dangerously close to the societal fringe. There is such tremendous value in difference…in seeing things with the unconformed eye…in living outside the parameters of perfection…there is value in being cracked.
Helen Keller once said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.“ The cracked understand this and embrace it despite the push-back they may get from society.
So, yes – “Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.”
Day five hundred and seventy-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da