Light and Brokenness

In the novel A Farewell to Arms (1929), the protagonist is an American ambulance office who becomes disillusioned and eventually deserts the war. In the novel Hemingway wrote,

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.”

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen wrote a song called “Anthem” of which there is a line

“There is a crack, a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.”

The quote “We are all broken -that’s how the light gets in” is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. However, while the origin of the quote may not be totally clear, the message of the quote is clear. Light and Brokenness can exist in tandem.

Are you broken? Will you allow the light to come in? How will you use the light?

Absorbing the Light

When light is absorbed, it is converted into energy. Plants absorb light and produce oxygen which we need to live. We all have our own definition of light i.e., spiritual awareness, knowledge, accomplishments, etc. From our definition of light, what type of energy are we producing i.e., judgmental, compassionate, prejudiced, nurturing, tolerant, etc.?

Reflection of the Light

The reflection of light can be roughly categorized into two types of reflection, specular and diffuse reflection. Specular reflection is defined as light reflected from a smooth surface at a definite angle. Diffuse reflection is produced by rough surfaces that tend to reflect light in all directions.

I will take these scientific explanations and compare them to my life experiences. Many will acknowledge that they are broken and/or not perfect. However, some will still compare themselves to others and feel superior or less broken than someone else. If this is the case, they can only reflect light to one angle or one perspective which is the specular reflection.

On my own journey, as the light comes in it meets my rough surfaces and the jagged edges. The depth of the dark places that only I and my maker know. The acknowledgment allows me to joke that my halo is held up by my horns. In other words, I am not perfect. When the light comes in and hits all my imperfections, it allows me to relate to others. The light diffuses and reflects in numerous directions.

Absorption and Reflection

Acceptance that we are all broken so that the light can come in. Allowing the light to penetrate our darkest and most jagged places. The light returns diffused and travels in all directions as opposed to simply one angle or perspective.


We all know those people that no matter what, they must be in the spotlight. It can be annoying and often those seeking the spotlight misjudge those of us for whom that is not a goal or important. I am not sure of the author but another favorite quote: “Those who shine from within don’t need the spotlight”. In the workforce and other areas, we are often challenged because often it is those who seem to seek the spotlight who seem to advance and navigate well.


What legacy are you creating? Have you let the light into the deepest crevices? What type of energy do you bring with you wherever you go? Are you chasing an ever-moving, ever-changing spotlight?

We are all broken and able to receive light. Once we are comfortable that we have our own light that can be reflected as positive energy there is no need to chase a spotlight. Our energy is our spotlight!


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Fanae-5, MSML

Fanae-5, MSML

Finding joy in the journey through gratitude for the blessings and the lessons!