I posted awhile back someone else's essay about the state of being broken and how it's a positive thing. And my dad replied on his blog with an example of a time when he felt broken.
The state of brokenness might help us see flaws in our own thinking or acting or way of being. Author and writing teacher Lucy March talks about towering*, from the tarot card where you see a tower being destroyed, usually by lightning.
Maybe a flash of insight that makes you realize (in the language of memes) ...
"Life: You're doing it wrong."
But I don't believe in letting the tower fall on you. Guilt and remorse are useful emotions for a time, but they shouldn't crush us.
One of my dad's favorite passages from Shakespeare is the whole "quality of mercy is not strained" speec which is indeed beautiful, but it's about showing mercy toward other people. Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy" is a good compliment to it because it's a reminder that mercy is available to us as well. A lot of tarots show greenery outside of the tower--mercy as "graceful and green as a stem"?
So this is my song-reply to my dad's reply.
Pick the version you think you'll like best, cause I love them all.
It's obviously touched many artists.
Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me their song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long.
Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned:
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned.
They lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
they will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.
When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.
Don't turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.
And you won't make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:
We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right,
We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.
Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt
Leonard Cohen with the sisters of mercy backing him up
Sting and the Chieftains
* Lucy March has just re-released an older book in ebook form--the very book she talks about in her post on towering. I haven't read it yet! But you should buy it too cause it's just $3. :-) "When I wrote The Fortune Quilt, my writing goal for the book was to tell a story about someone whose life had completely fallen apart. Like the beginning of a country western song, the book would start with her losing everything she held dear – family, friends, and career – and would chronicle how she rebuilt her life from there. In the book, the main character, Carly, ends up in a community of psychics and artists, where she is then told that this horrible experience she has had, her entire life falling apart, is a universal experience, and it is called ‘Being Towered.’"