Canadian news casters sensationalize less, report events with more detachment, seem to take a longer view spiced with maturity and absent of incessant editorializing and horrorizing. Just the facts, Ma’am.
Canadian singers, songwriters, and composers seem to honor their craft, their art, their poetic sensibility; seem to approach the sharing of their lyrics and melodies as a sacred responsibility rather than the means to the end of fame and wealth.
Canadian artists - visual, literary, musical - who receive but a perfunctory shrug, if they are noticed at all in the States, are regarded as integral, woven into the fabric of the culture.
Indigenous voices are heard as they call us to account, reminding immigrants that wisdom resides in traditions and stories reaching back thousands of generations, married to place and to community. Sustaining life appears to be a virtue rather than a liability.
One of Canada’s most beloved spokes persons, Leonard Cohen, has carried out his assignment for nearly 60 years – writing from the heart. Never turning his back on our human frailties and our divine inheritance, he melds body and soul into one delicious, flawed and holy experience. His poetic expression bears repeated listening. His CD released in 2012, "Old Ideas", is deeply touching and carries the essence of his wisdom. In the first song “Going Home”, God speaks about Leonard as “a poet and a shepherd, a lazy bastard living in a suit . . . . he knows he’s really nothing but a brief elaboration of a tube.”
Some might question my wisdom/sanity in suggesting that Leonard Cohen is a representative of an Easter symbol. After all he is a Jew, a Buddhist monk, a ladies man, a former host to drugs and depression, a familiar face from the heyday of the Chelsea Hotel. And that is exactly why, to my mind, he is an excellent Easter representative.
“He’s really nothing but a brief elaboration of a tube.” To reach that level of humility, that recognition of one’s place in the universe, of one’s insignificance, seems to come about through a well-lived life. Maybe not an easy life or a privileged life or a morally pristine life; but a yeasty life, a questing life, a life of brilliant successes and equally brilliant failures. Life, as we all discover, asks us to fully inhabit our shadows as well our sunlight, learning to embrace each side, lovingly.
For me this is the message of Easter, the holy union of human and divine. Descending and ascending daily over the course of a lifetime. Entering the tomb of death, emerging without the trappings that we wore. Radiant. Authentic. Graced beyond belief.
May the true blessings of Easter - love, joy, and new life - be yours in abundance!