Posts Tagged ‘society’

Our North American culture (and probably many other cultures, but I only know this one) aims to eliminate that which results in disorder or flaws, and replace it with … perfection.

I think this all started with erasers, which led to white out, which led to the delete key. From our earliest beginnings we have been trying to deny what is reality in living a life of personal choices … that we are going to make mistakes. And from our first bad choice, in the garden of Eden, we mere humans have been making mistakes, and living with the consequences of them.

Everything within us longs for good predictability, with only good surprises. Good surprises like a bonus on our paycheck, or a storm day resulting in no school, or all of our kids being out of the house at the same time, or all of our kids being home at the same time … time of life changes what defines good surprises for us …

And that is true too, that our phase of life, changes our perspectives on what is a good surprise, or a good interruption. Our phase of life also changes how we see perfection. When we look at a newborn we delight in their chubby legs, but when we look at our adult cellulite (and lets face it, at a certain age, it is a given, heck, even JLo has cellulite … but, I digress, again) we shudder. When we are dating we look at our significant other as flawless perfection, yet only a few years (okay, days) into the marriage, we start to pick their flaws out.

So, is there perfection? Is it possible for perfection for one to be perfection for another? Maybe, just maybe, what we see as perfection is simply the reality that perfection is in the eyes of the beholder?

When we start to recognize the lessons of disorder and imperfections, then we start to learn how to live. Also, if, we could eliminate the imperfect from our lives, what might we miss out on?

Without touching that hot stove, as a child, we might not have learned the need to prevent burns, nor might we have learned that our mother’s try to protect us from harm.

Without the experience of failing a test at school, we might not have learned that studying helps us to succeed in school.

Without the experience of having problems with those most near to us, we would not have had the opportunity to work through the problems, towards more healthy, prosperous relationships.

Sometimes what we planned just does not go as we had thought it would. When that happens we can be left with such discouragement. We long for the normal, the amazing. But, life often substitutes unsweetened tea for sweet tea, and we feel as though our thirst for our dreams will never be quenched.

One of the things I love about being the wife of a pastor, is that I attend more than the average number of weddings, funerals and anniversaries of fifty years and more. On the one hand I get to attend the weddings of people who still have every dream and hope of amazing, flawless marital bliss. On the other I get to attend the significant anniversaries of couples who know what it is to keep on going, even when the amazing is substituted for boring or just getting by, flawless is substituted for bad noises and bad smells, and marital bliss is replaced with disappointments, sorrows and struggles.

Then, to culminate my experiences of weddings and anniversaries, are the funerals. When I sit at a funeral or memorial of person who has lived a long life. I read the life story of the deceased, or see a slide show of their life, and it is then, in the mundane of real life, real commitments, real work that I see real perfection. Not the visually, outward perfection that our society tells us to strive for, but inward, character rich perfection of a life well lived, with and for those around them.

THAT is the perfection that I want to strive for … and I will do so rather than occupying my time pondering cellulite, wrinkles and age spots.

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