There are not too many areas where I try for perfection. It does drive me crazy to write something, post it or publish it and find a flaw, misspelling or design difficulty. This probably stems from 35 years of writing and publishing. I figure I should have gotten it perfect by now. Or perhaps it’s just because I have had so many imperfect publications that I know how that one misspelled word seems to jump off the published page. But, you know the saying, no one is perfect? I’ve said that to many bosses over the years. Some shrugged and agreed. Others were not so agreeable.
I have known a couple of people who were near perfect is certain areas. One was Sister Forsee, an awesome neighbor lady who could almost read my mind. She had long white hair that she kept up in a bun. In the evening, she would sit on her front porch, take her hair down and brush it. I loved to sit with her and listen to her talk. At least once an evening she would stop brushing, turn and look at me with her piercing blue eyes and ask, “What is going on in your head tonight, Little One?” She would not let me by with, “Nothing,” or “I don’t know.”
The other was, of course, my Dad. There isn’t enough space here for me to tell you about him except to say he was a man who loved unconditionally. Many people have said to me, “I never heard your Dad say anything bad about anyone.” This is so true. He would think long and hard before he would enter into a conversation about a person and then it would only be to say something positive.
Both of these individuals were flawed. Sister Forsee’s house was crammed full of all kinds of things. You could barely move. Every so often my mom would tell me that Sister Forsee needed my help and I would clean her house so I know first-hand some of her imperfections. She was a large woman but so very present with people, with me.
My Dad’s flaws weren’t many. Any flaw would probably be akin to being too spiritually minded. He was almost too trustworthy of people. He struggled with health issues, a quadruple heart bypass and then Parkinson’s Disease toward the end of his life. Not that these were his fault, but it only points out that his body was not perfect.
And that is the point, really, none of us is or ever can be perfect. Does that mean we should just shut down and not even try? I would submit it is in the trying that we find the reasons for our existence. What is life without goals? It is meaningless. It is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It is not going anywhere or becoming any different or achieving anything. It is to stop dreaming, to stop going forward. It is to stop.
I refuse to stop. I will go forward. I will not be perfect nor do I want to be on this earth. Sister Forsee and Dad are in heaven today. They are perfect, in every way. I have often thought about the near perfect attainment of emotional well-being in Sister Forsee and spiritual well-being in my Dad. Did God say to them, “Ah, I see you have attained perfection in this area. It’s time to come home now.”
I hope one day I will hear God say to me, “Well done”, and welcome me home. Until then, I will be content with working on my imperfections knowing always that being human really means learning from my mistakes and carrying that learning forward to tomorrow.
It has been said that Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. What if he had stopped at 9,999? Even then it wasn’t perfect, but it worked. My focus is shifting from being perfect to finding out what works for me and doing that and then revising it and doing that.
Because if perfection is the end of the story, I believe understanding we aren’t perfect is the beginning. When we say, “I’m not perfect and because of that I am so very desperately in need of God” that is when life really begins.