Glue, tikkun

broken clay pot with clover

broken clay pot with clover (Photo credit: pberry041655)

An old story says that when God first let his light shine in the chaos of the new universe, the universe shattered wherever the light came in. And so we live in a shattered world and life is a constant effort to glue the pieces of the world back together.

But it’s by dealing with the cracks that I grow. I learn from my failures in everything from studying math to learning again and again how to be a mother — this time, how to be a mother to a young man who has now a wife and home of his own.

Possibly the strangest lesson that I have learned from gluing the bits of my life together into a whole is that the cracks between pieces, the cracks where the glue is, are the most valuable. Tikkun: an old Hebrew word for this repairing, is what keeps the world going from day to day. It is how I learn that being what I am is enough.

Like Leonard Cohen said,

“There is a crack in everything — that’s how the light gets in.”

Five Minute Friday


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Leo Kottke at the Boulder Theater

Leo Kottke

Leo Kottke (Photo credit: Five Low Notes)


Streaming into the Boulder Theater

And so a couple of nights ago, on an evening that was even for Boulder, Colorado, unseasonably cold, several hundred adults who all looked to be suspiciously and uniformly close to me in age converged at the entrance to the Boulder Theater for a concert by Leo Kottke and proceeded to wedge ourselves and our best woolens and goose-down into the old movie theater seats that the proprietors have yet to see fit to replace, as well as some ordinary stackable chairs down front, where we sat. At first, I waited in splendid comfort, eavesdropping casually since my iPhone’s battery died at that same moment I sat down. Then the waitress — there’s a bar in the back of the place — took a few last orders, the house lights went down, and a handful of some of the taller people in Boulder arrayed themselves carefully in the empty seats before me.

I am here to listen more than I am here to watch, I told myself. I don’t have to see to hear.

The man’s style is to talk for a while between songs, or possibly in the songs, almost a sort of living voice-over. There was a story about some young man of Finnish descent named (possibly) Peltoniemi who was the nephew of some guy named Peltoniemi who rented LK a canoe on the Snake River in Idaho once — and who (the nephew) had something to show him (LK) which turned out to be a dead bird on a windowsill. LK was up in Minnesota possibly — somewhere deadly cold and snowed over in winter — at a place where there was the largest privately-owned ball of string in the world. It was in the owner’s yard, chained to a tree. “And the strangest thing about this ball of string was that it was chained to a tree.” Another line from earlier in the evening: “The secret of life is to be easily amused.”

The theater itself is still proudly resplendent in its Art Deco interior decoration and I think was probably painted about ten or fifteen years ago at the latest. We sat close to the front on the ground floor — when we went to see LK last year, we were in the balcony. This might have been a good thing if I hadn’t been sitting behind all the tall, fluffy haired people in Boulder. Mostly, I could only see him by peeking in between and around people’s heads.

The set lasted an hour and forty minutes with one encore.

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