A Cold and Broken Hallelujah

*This Sunday Series post was originally published on my previous blog in December 2016. Some of it has been changed to reflect where we are today.

Pentatonix recently released a beautiful remake of the haunting Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah. It’s been in heavy rotation on my playlist- and my heart- ever since.

I’ve been mulling over the lyrics of this song, how love can become such a “cold and broken hallelujah” for some of us. Not a victory march, not at all, not even close. Not a bright light or a deep cry. Just a “cold and broken hallelujah,” a horrible emptiness that can seep into any relationship, marriage, family, friends, church, or even the world as a whole.

Love can feel far from victorious.

I’m not sure we fully understand want and need and what causes them, so we aren’t always able to clearly communicate with others the longings we so desperately crave.

Somethings are simply better left unsaid, more easily stored away in the sacred space between you and God.

But sometimes that sacred space feels so wide that even God seems unreachable.

And not to sound like a hippie, but I truly believe when we lose our connection to the Energy-Maker, we lose our connection to our own soul. If we lose the connection to our own soul, we can’t possibly connect to others in a meaningful way.

We grow afraid. We grow bitter.

Bitterness turns into disillusionment, and then we are done. Depleted. Dry.

This is especially true within marriage. Each of us gets busy in our own way, either climbing the corporate ladder, or laboring grueling hours as an unpaid parent. Or both. Cleaning house, working on the family farm. Cooking meals. Paying bills.

Harder problems drain us, like cancer or financial struggles, family issues, or simply raising kids. That’s a huge energy-zapper, and today, ridiculous child-worship will burn the life right out of you.

We crawl into a space to disappear from those people and things that steal our energy, while desperately trying to find our source of joy, our passion, once again.

I looked up the definition of passion recently.

There are five different meanings, ranging from feeling a sense of euphoria, to feeling a deep, abiding appreciate for something or someone.

What were you once passionate about?

Or here’s a better question: Who stole your passion?

As a little girl, I was passionate about Jesus. I fell for him when I visited St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Clarksdale, Mississippi, with my grandparents. The Crucifix that hung on the wall told a story: The Creator felt enough passion to leave His throne and die a sinner’s death for me. I believed that.

I believed it when my very first Sunday School teacher at a little Baptish Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, handed me a Dixie cup full of punch and two Oreos. She taught me the words to Jesus Loves Me. I was a shy and scared little introvert because by that time, my soul had been hurt deeply by others with hurt souls. But I believed the lyrics of that song were true.

I was passionate about dancing, about family, about one day becoming a wife and mom and a caretaker of my home.

I was passionate about people, even- especially- those who looked different than me.

But life will wear you down. Trust me, it wore me down in ways I’m still recovering from.

Life wore me down so much that I became selfish and blind to the pain of those around me. In turn, my actions wore others down.

It’s a cycle, right? Hurt people, hurt people.

The world and all its trials can break you so much that you have to switch to autopilot just to make it through a day.

I wonder how many of us are not only walking in that wide and foggy space where we can’t reach God, but also coasting on copilot, questioning nothing about this world but simply going through the motions or even actions we know are damaging us. Our eating and drinking habits, viewing material, time wasted, words said without thinking, all because we’ve lost our passion, our desire to speak, live and think intentionally.

Sadly, sometimes it takes a tragedy of some sort to pull us out of that space. I’ve watched with horror this last week as people in a neighboring community have dealt with an unnecessary death of a young black man by people who were supposed to protect him. Though I made a commitment when I restarted this blog not to speak about things I know nothing about, I know what it’s like to be a human. I know what it’s like to be a mother.

I know what it’s like to be a weary soul just trying to make it home.

Sometimes a compromise of what we once believed so strongly shakes us to our core. Our passion is reignited by an affair, or the realization that we’re in the wrong marriage, or living the wrong life.

What’s so tragic is that oftentimes we don’t realize how far we’ve gone this until it’s too late. We may find our passion again, but not without racking up a casualty or ten, be it self-condemnation, a broken marriage, a quit job, a sudden end to a friendship, or hurt children.

What takes even more fortitude is choosing not to act on our passion.

We choose to put first our marriage, our children, our commitment, our job, our obedience to what we value most.

In this case, we have to die. We must kill our passion.

Maybe one of these problems belongs to you.

Maybe you’ve lived the good life, or you’re just find coasting on autopilot.

But for those of you, those of us, living in the cold and broken hallelujah, take heart.

God’s love in nowhere near cold or broken.

His passion for you isn’t just passion, it is compassion, a literal co-suffering with the one He created and loves.

Whereas our compassion is shallow and sometimes self-serving, His is the real deal.


In 2019, I tossed out decade of old journals.

It was time for them to go. I needed a cleansing, and I didn’t want to return to those days or those pages.

But recently, I’ve regretted the decision to throw them away. I’ve realized how impulsive and shallow it was to think I could forget all that had happened in my life over the last forty years.

With that sentiment, I went into 2020 knowing that I would hold on to all of my memories.

When the pandemic hit, I started writing more than ever before.

The following is a snippet from one of those entries:

One day this whole thing is going to end, and it’s TERRIFYING. But this has made me realize that my fear is an ILLUSION! It’s a farce- it only destroys my now because everything ends anyway! It’s all ending! So, we really have nothing to fear!

WOW! I don’t think I’ve ever realized that. FEAR IS AN ILLUSION! I can work without fear, eat, drink, preach, talk, love, forgive with NO FEAR! That is true peace!

God as the Suffering Servant who suffers alongside us and loves us yet knows all, has suffered with me and brought GOOD. You loved me and still do even when I’m unlovable. We’re not getting out of this, none of us, are we God? We have to go THROUGH IT. Take us through and be our PEACE.


God never once promised the easy life. Our choices, our love, they matter if we’re going to live together on this spinning globe.

We won’t always feel victorious but Love always wins.

God’s love was once and for all, and nothing we do or fail to do will ever change that.

See you soon,


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