A Cold and Broken Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof

You saw her bathing on the roof

Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you

She tied you to her kitchen chair

She broke your throne and she cut your hair

And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

Baby I’ve been here before

I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor (you know)

I used to live alone before I knew you

And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch

And love is not a victory march

It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

 Hallelujah. Praise God.

As cancer wages war on my wife’s body, it seems a funny thing to be occurring in my mind right now. Yet as we prayed together tonight, the song appeared in my thoughts, and I can’t shake it.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

I was reminded of Leonard Cohen’s prophetic words and Jeff Buckley’s beautiful singing earlier this year at a concert, and I downloaded the song the next day. I listened to it over and over on my way to and from work for a week, just turning the lyrics and haunting melody over in my mind, letting it mingle with what already lived there, creating new connections and rhythms.

I’m not going to pretend that I have some great insight into what the song means, but it occurs to me that it has to do with spirituality, human flesh, and the one certain thing that seems to unite the two: Love.

So often we tend to think of hallelujah as an exultation, a shout of joy, yet as Cohen’s words explained long before it occurred to me, love and praise don’t always come beautifully wrapped in achievement, celebration, or joy. They often show up through pain, tears, and confusion.

Our humans bodies and brains distort reality so that we see from a personal perspective. This illusion is easy to give into, and it seems especially easy when the human body is attacking itself. Yet at times, we are able to transcend that illusion, and find our light in the darkness. In those times, we are able to sing hallelujah from down on our knees, head in our hands, supplicated to a greater order of the universe. And when we begin to dance rhythmically with the order of the universe rather than trying to control it, we begin to gain more power than we ever believed possible.

Do we think we should only sing praise when we are on top? No, the true test of the strength of our spirit comes when we are on the bottom.  It seems paradoxical, but we gain our greatest power when we give up control and give in to a greater order of the universe, an order we can never truly understand. We are capable of realizing our true power and love even when we feel weakest, for we do not gain this power through achievement. We gain it through a cold and broken hallelujah.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.




11 thoughts on “A Cold and Broken Hallelujah

  1. Hello Jared,

    I am a friend of Heather’s and just want to take a moment to let you know I am praying for Celeste and you and your family.

    I’ve read your words multiple times. In a chapter of my life I, too, found myself in darkness. A darkness that was smothering. A darkness that held me so tight it was paralyzingly. Strangely enough, a darkness that I welcomed – there I felt close to him – in my darkness he was there. If I left he would be gone. I saw light around me – life. I didn’t want that – he wasn’t there. Yet, I knew I needed that light. I had to find a way to leave my darkness knowing I could visit my darkness when I just couldn’t say no. I let it go – I looked up knowing that was my only way out. I found strength. Strength that got me out of bed. Strength that walked me through each day. Strength that allows me to visit my darkness and pulls me out. Strength that showed me he is in the light – he is a part of me in the light. I look to that light to give me the strength that I call upon each and every day.

    I pray that you and Celeste lean on that light as you face this journey. I pray that you let it empower you, let it comfort you, let it guide you. Miracles happen all around us. Some we see and some we don’t. I pray that we all see a beautiful miracle here , in your journey. It’s hard to wrap our heads around how big our God is. We need to think big when we pray because nothing is too big for our God. NOTHING!!!!!! Prayers my friend. 🙏🙏🙏🙏💞💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jared, beautiful words…you made me think many thoughts as that is my all time favorite song. Prayers and good thoughts on this journey you and your family did not ask to walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, there’s no hidden meaning in that song. Sometimes life offers up a bitter pill, and sometimes a sweet one. Sometimes we make good decisions, and sometimes we don’t. Wet just need to strive to make better decisions.


  4. Jared, We have common friends but just wanted to let you know am praying for you all. Not sure if you are aware but there is a wonderful book about how this song came to be. Just finishing it myself.


  5. Jared, Celeste and Em,
    Hallelujah Hallelujah ! Let this be your battle cry! You are being lifted in love, light and prayer by so many people. Your family is on prayers chains that extend around the globe. Often, people ask, “How can I help?” And the other person responds, “Nothing. All you can do is pray.” Prayer isn’t the last resort,; it is the first step in the plan of attack! Prayer is EVERYTHING we can do for your family. I know just enough about football to make this analogy. The team is in the huddle and the quarterback yells “”Break!” The play goes into action, something goes wrong, The offensive lineman misses a block. The quarterback is about to be sacked and throws a game “Hail Mary” pass that gets caught in the end zone, the winning team and fans scream “”Hallelujah!” Your team is in the huddle, Jared. You have a play. Rather than yell, “Break!” You exclaim, “Hallelujah !” Those on your team return the battle cry. “Hallelujah !” You are surround by love. Never alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Celeste,
    I was so saddened to hear the news of your cancer diagnosis. Reading your husbands words brings tears to my eyes and also makes me smile. Through it all your love for each other and your daughter seem to grow stronger by the moment. You are blessed to have them and they are to have you. Your eternity shines bright! You all are in my prayers. L&L

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love and hope are with you both. I am praying for you and your beautiful family in this journey in that you stay strong and conquer cancer. Your attitude and love for each other is enduring. Don’t let that change no matter what. Sorry this darkness is over you right now. Remember the Light shines bright in you both!


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