How the Light Gets In.

When you say Leonard Cohen’s name, most of us go right to Hallelujah, which is certainly one of the most hauntingly beautiful ballads ever written. But not me. I’m drawn to his song Anthem right now and these lines are playing over and over in my head.

Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

While we’re cooped up in our homes and apartments it’s easy to dwell both on what has passed away and – especially – on what is yet to be. And none of us has anything like a perfect offering right now. But we can choose to see the light coming through the cracks.

My good buddy McLernon reminded me that back in the weeks after 9-11 he made a point of calling customers and colleagues and specifically not talking business. Just So, how’re you doing? Relationships are often started and frequently strengthened at times of shared adversity. The short email that just says I’m thinking about you. The little act of kindness… asking about your friend’s parents.

That’s how the light gets in.

Last week I offered up a few fresh questions to help in re-framing the moment. Here are a couple more. Since we have to change how we work together for now and for a good while into the future, might we not find some permanent improvements to adopt? Can we intelligently and intentionally streamline how we work together so we waste less of one another’s time? Can we keep asking how people are – and really caring about the answer – even after things start seeming normal again?

People are taking simple, thoughtful actions. Being mindful of each other’s family obligations. Sharing laughs and coffee cup photos as they gather on more-frequent team calls and video conferences. Setting aside their own disappointments and anxieties, they’re buying gift cards (virtually) from local businesses to help them with cash flow. I hope it doesn’t stop.

That’s how the light gets in.