This was going to be a Ms-Soapbox-is-stampeding-see-you-next-week-blog…then she remembered something.
Ms Soapbox’s sister and brother-in-law popped into town just in time for the Calgary Stampede. We did the fair grounds, the Dog Bowl, the Clydesdales and the llamas, we ate raindrop cake and teriyaki perogies and ducked into the casino to escape the heat.
The highlight of our day was the Stampede Grandstand Show; a tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday combined with a simple message, our future is better together.
As Ms Soapbox watched the hoop dancers, the Inuit throat singers, and the acrobats, singers and dancers she wondered whether Canadians would be able to carry the spirit of unity unfolding on stage into their everyday lives.
Then the stage darkened.
A strong voice sang the first few words of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
“Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord…”
Leonard Cohen was a thoughtful, inquisitive, and unassuming artist. Hallelujah is a complex, confusing and hauntingly beautiful song.
No one really knows what it means but Alan Light provides this thoughtful interpretation:
“Like our forefathers, and the Bible heroes who formed the foundation of Western ethics and principles, we will be hurt, tested, and challenged. Love will break our hearts, music will offer solace that we may or may not hear, we will be faced with joy and with pain. But Cohen is telling us, without resorting to sentimentality, not to surrender to despair or nihilism. Critics may have fixated on the gloom and doom of his lyrics, but this is his offering of hope and perseverance in the face of a cruel world. Holy or broken, there is still hallelujah”.*
Can Canadians achieve a future that is better together?
If we see beyond despair, if we offer hope and persevere, we will get there.
*excerpt from The Holy or the Broken http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-leonard-cohen-writes-hallelujah-in-the-holy-or-the-broken-20121203