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Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on: The Disease Called Perfection

I stumbled on this post a few weeks ago.  You may have seen me repost it.  It was powerful and I felt compelled to share it.  Even more compelling, I am still thinking about it weeks later. Thank you to Dan of Single Dad Laughing for putting it out into the universe.

Here is the post to catch you up. The Disease Called Perfection. The post is powerful, the comments profound.

After letting this post percolate, here are some of my thoughts in response.

As the quest for perfection poisons us, I wonder ......Do you know any perfect people? perfect couples? perfect children?

I don't. I have scanned through the list of people that I know well. The ones that I have insight into their real selves, not a single perfect one in the bunch.

Some of them might look perfect from afar. There lies the trap. From a certain distance the picture is perfect. The counters are cleaned, the dog always groomed. Then you step inside their heart and you find they've been hurt, they've been left, they're in some stage of healing.

No perfection really exists. At least not here on earth.

We're chasing something that doesn't exist. We poison ourselves, we poison each other, looking for something we can never find.

That's ridiculous.

As I study my life, I can find a few perfect moments.     Their perfection only rises in relativity to the struggle that got me to that moment. It's not the moment that's perfect, it's the celebration of the quest that got me there.

In any given month, my husband and I may find one perfect night together with both kids at sleepovers and the local tavern serving his favorite dessert and my favorite wine. We savor over an unexpected night to reconnect and enjoy each other. Our relationship has no chance of being perfect. But for that few hours in a month there's a piece of perfection that can only be observed as such because of the 29 days of struggle and challenge that got us to that point.  If every Saturday night had that space and time, it wouldn't be cherished. That moment is special because of the struggles we go through raising our family.

I love to decorate my house.  It gives me great joy and satisfaction. It's a passion and a hobby. Interestingly, it's not the moment of sitting and taking in my surroundings that give me the greatest joy. It's the Saturday morning garage sale, loading the dirty dusty "find" into the back of my truck. The time of lovingly cleaning it, painting it and fixing it until it finds that perfect spot in my home. It's the challenge that gives me the feeling of perfection when I finally call it home.

Let us gather around our common challenges and recognize our united struggle that brings us together perfectly and gives us those few minutes of joy and satisfaction. The joy of the journey.

Childhood vacations aren't logged into our memory under the perfection of the destination. They're logged in by the struggle. The memory of the three days in the backseat of a Pontiac sitting between my grandparents has a far bigger space in my memory than the 20 minutes we spent looking at Mt. Rushmore. Some journeys I don't even remember the destination, I only remember the struggle. I remember them fondly. The last "motel" room found on a cross country journey with too many family members piled in a room. The drowning boy saved by my father while gathered round a hotel pool. The prayers through the night for my sleeping family while the hurricane pounded at our sliding glass door. The screaming girl refusing to spend the day with Snow White on the Disney Cruise because she'd rather be at the pool with me, her mama.Those moments are special because of the struggle, not their perfection.

Let us not spend a life being poisoned by the quest for perfection. Let us share in the challenges together and remember to pause in the moments that are perfect only in relation to the challenge that got us there. That sounds perfect, the way that God intended.