By way of linked arms

When Jeff Buckley sings Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah" you may think that the world is weeping. And—having not heard the song for a long while—should you hear it at 6:45 a.m. and have it catch you without your daytime defences up, you too may weep, and suddenly, shadowsdebandmesuddenly again, know the hurt and aloneness that a friend endures, a family member undergoes, someone else in your circle bears; and in the anguish of this necessary knowing you may yet be carried into the morning alive. And you may see that it’s not the song, not the verse, not the lament, it’s the small dimly-lit moment of being within the place of the other.

For we are not people who have seen the light, we are, every one of us, broken Hallelujah’s. We feel the cold of loss, of separation, of pain, and we spend part of each day wondering how to carry on. And after our experiments are done, after the song ends, it turns out we do not carry on by way of revelation, or by any private victory, or by being on the side of right, or by discipline—we move and bear our being only by way of linked arms.


  1. I have a friend whose husband is dying and have not been able to express my heartfelt sorrow and tears to her until I read your post. Thank-you from the depths of my heart.

  2. It’s the only way to carry on, arm in arm with those we love. I’m crying as I write this, for myself, for the world, for all those who are suffering, close friends near and dear. Thank you for expressing what we all carry in our hearts, just aching and waiting for those moments of love and an easing of burdens.

  3. Beautiful, Steve – broken hallelujahs, so apt. The linked arms of broken hallelujahs, also expressed, I think, in Paul’s expression of knowing Christ in the fellowship of his suffering.

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