Little cracks appear every day. The English language fills in the cracks with a variety of meanings. Superstition: “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”. Humor: “She cracks me up”. Measure of quality: “Not all it’s cracked up to be”. Measure of distance: “Open the window a crack”. Emotions: “Wear him down until he cracks”.
Cracks. Every day is filled with them. We walk over so many cracks in a day that we hardly even notice them underfoot. Until we are put on hold, wait an extra minute for a webpage to download, sit in rush hour traffic, or stand in line at the checkout.
There are some kinds of cracks that are not funny and some that are not pretty. Waiting typically cracks up no one. Consider spontaneous cracks, those brief encounters with unasked for waiting. Such little unfilled cracks of time often leave us feeling impatient, resentful or frustrated.
If our days are full of cracks, what can we do to smooth things out?
1. First, welcome cracks. See spontaneous cracks in your day as little unasked for gifts. Who doesn’t enjoy received an unlooked for gift. Rather than curse a crack, welcome it as an unopened gift. Welcoming cracks moves us into a receptive approach to life allowing us to experience empty places in the day with gratitude instead of irritability.
2. Second, fill in the cracks. Step right into those little spaces of time with special material of your own choosing. Make something creative happen in that specific minute of your day. For example: try smiling at the crack. Fill the crack with a little bit of humor. A smile just might be the seed crystal which transforms the whole chemistry of the situation.
3. Here’s another cracked idea. Meet gift for gift. Give a quality part of yourself to the crack. Fill the crack with one of your favorite wisdom sayings. Recite poetry while you wait. Carry with you a few hand-written cards with wisdom sayings, proverbs, great life quotes, a sentence or two from Scripture. Work on memorizing one of those in that crack.
4. Finally, think of cracks as soul time. Take those brief moments handed to you every day and zero in on the state of your soul. Breathe a few good slow breaths. Focus your full attention on God, and upon God’s love. For those few moments each day within the cracks, let love pour in. As odd as it sounds, those are the places where wonders happens. Those are the creative spaces helping you become a radiant human.
As Leonard Cohen sings, Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.
Lyrics by Leonard Cohen, Anthem, off his The Future album, 1992.