We saw Leonard Cohen at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn last week. He is 78 and having a musical rebirth, complete with a world tour. And it was a real treat.
To say the concert was extraordinary is an understatement. First, understand that we still have his vinyl albums from the 60s, and since then we thought he just faded away. So it was a nice surprise to see that he was performing in our Brooklyn neighborhood; we bought tickets “for old time’s sake”.
He sang songs from throughout his career for two and a half hours. His band of professional musicians and singers from around the world filled this big arena with lively music – we almost couldn't sit still. His voice, which back then wasn't much to comment on, was now rich and deep and powerful. He’s better now than he was then, which is a hope we all have.
And then he sang Hallelujah, which was as beautiful and haunting as ever:
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
As 2012 comes to an end, this song seems to sum things up as we head into a new year. All we can do is our best, and if that doesn't add up to the hopes and resolutions we made last year, we have to keep trying. And if we find ourselves standing before the Lord of Song, we hope that having Hallelujah on our tongues is enough.
As we each stand before next year’s hopes and resolutions, be thankful for all you have, and commit to trying to be better tomorrow. My message this week is about giving your all, every day:
“You're not obligated to win. You're obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” Marian Wright Edelman
What will you try to do today? You’ll probably try hard at whatever you’re doing, and maybe you'll even hope that the effort will lead you to win or be the best. But it’s like the coach always tells a sports team: “work hard at doing each individual thing you do as well as you can, and then, if you’re lucky, you may win the game; and if you win enough games you may win the championship”. You shouldn't set your sights on anything more than the immediate task at hand…..and then focus totally on doing it to the best of your ability. And when you’re done with that task, move to and focus on the next. And at the end of the day you’ll be able to look back at all you've done and feel a sense of accomplishment. So remember: you’re not obligated to win…but you are obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day!
Happy Holidays & Stay well!