Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The imperfect perfect

Living in the here-and-now, fully present in each moment, would be so much easier if we all had default buttons set to this mode. I think we must have, a long, long time ago, but the switch got flipped and now we have to perpetually fight this other mode of discontent. Were we only hard-wired for gratitude, what a difference that would make! And yet, it seems that in the struggle, that is when the diamond of gratitude is polished. Yes, it takes struggle for me to see, to appreciate beauty, even when I write about it nearly every day.

Though I go through my days with varying degrees of determination to see with grateful eyes, deep down still resides some quiet, persistent voice niggling away at my heart. Trying to convince me that when such-and-such piece of life falls into place, things will be perfect. If I could just arrange A and B to fit together, and C to move here, and to eliminate D altogether, and manipulate E, I'll have things just as I want them. Just as they should be.

Is it just me, going through life, so often subconsciously, as if I'm trying to shift the pieces of a Rubric cube?

But one who has experienced loss, who has lived the sudden shattering of things falling apart, knows, too, that things as they should be - the illusive perfect composition - is infinitely fragile. The photographer trying to capture group shots of families with small children knows this. The "perfect" picture is actually a split-second shot where the photographer eventually succeeded in capturing the children in poses, facing the camera and smiling, before attentions shifted once more, boredom or curiosity set in, other emotions flashed on little faces, all with the optimal lighting, camera settings and composition.

Life is fluid like that quest to capture the perfect picture, before the scene changes and the moment is lost. Perfect pictures come around again, for moments. And in the interim, we create another type of moment. The imperfect perfect moment. The truest, deepest gratitude virtually eliminates the need for perfection. There is potential in each moment, in each season of life, in each struggling relationship or faith or business, for the beautiful imperfect.

And now I see a bit more clearly, it's also grace I so desperately need. Grace for those imperfect perfects to be as they are, un-manipulated. Grace for life, for others, for me, not to have an ideal.

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