As we step through a challenging winter holiday season dealing with the many difficult impacts of the pandemic, I’m reminded of these lyrics written by Leonard Cohen in the song "Anthem:"

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

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Cohen’s lyrics offer us some much needed encouragement as we push on through this particular winter. First, it tells us that it’s OK to have cracks. “There is a crack, a crack in everything.” The first step toward feeling better is owning it followed by making an action plan to do something about it.

For me, it’s helpful to start with knowing that we all have cracks, we all have wrinkles and we all make mistakes. “Forget your perfect offering.”

Patriot Perspective: Finding positivity at PLMS amongst all the distractions

Cohen’s lyrics also highlight that it’s through our cracks that the light gets in. It’s in times of hardship that we witness incredible displays of generosity, courage and compassion by great folks all around us. I’m amazed by the heroic work of our health care workers and the ways local communities have rallied around them.

I also appreciate the compassion I get to witness most days as our Patriot employees work incredibly hard to teach students, to feed them and to show love and grace in a time when it’s needed most. These are hard times, so let’s keep working together to shine a light into the cracks around us and be intentional peacemakers in our community.

Finally, the first line in these lyrics tells us to ring whatever bells that we can! Bells are generally cheerful sounding, especially around the holidays, and what better way to take some deliberate action toward a positive mental mindset than to start ringing bells - both literally and metaphorically.

When we are intentional about focusing on gratefulness and celebrating the people around us, our mental and emotional state improves significantly. Let’s all find ways in the weeks ahead to let the light in and ring bells of celebration for loved ones and those who need some help keeping a smile.

Here’s to turning the page to a new year! Go Patriots!

Chris Lindholm is Pequot Lakes School superintendent.