The gift of our imperfections

There is a strive in life towards perfection that actually can be found in our recognizing our imperfection. Human beings were made in community, realized for community, and wired for it in our very being. The strive for perfection outside of the perfection that comes from the sacred dance of catch and release in community, will lead to an unrealized potential and an isolated reality, rather than the movement towards the community we are called to in the Christian faith.

At the core of it all is trust. Joan Chittister in her book, Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by HOPE, shares:

If we refuse to ask for help, if we distance ourselves from the strengths of Others. If we cling to the myths of authority and power where trust is needed, we leave out a piece of life. We condemn ourselves to ultimate failure because someday, somewhere, we will meet up with the thing we cannot do and our whole public self will depend on our being able to do it. It is trust in the limits of the self that leaves us open and it is trust in the gifts of others that makes us secure. We come to realize that we don’t have to do everything, that we can’t do everything, that what I can’t do is someone else’s gift and responsibility. I am a small piece of the cosmic clock, a necessary piece, but not the only piece. My limitations make space for the gifts of other people. Without the grace of our limitations we would be isolated, dry, and insufferable creatures indeed.(P. 69)

I ordered this book used on Amazon while I was home in the US. When I began to flip through it, I cringed. The person who owned it before me used several different colors of highlighters where I only use one color at a time, preferably lavender or blue—for they are easier on the eyes. The margins of the book were tattooed with writing that frustrated me as I tried to read through the chaos created on the pages.

Yet, somehow through the struggle, there was a blessing. For in the margin near the words above were these words from the previous reader: How can I convince myself that I am a necessary piece? How do I trust others to supply what I don’t have, when I have been so disappointed in the past? When I feel my vulnerabilities have not been met in the past? How do I join, be a part of the human community? Do I really have anything at all to give?

I re-read the book after my first read. This time I looked at all the passages highlighted and scribbled inscriptions carefully. There was such desperation in the reader and the desperation circled around this question, “Will I be accepted, how do I find my way to community?” The call is before us to recognize that if we have found a place, our role is to make a place for others to find their way too and to remember that Jesus was mostly with those who felt cast out. In their imperfections, He claimed them perfect. The Divine lives in each of us, living too alone denies the divinity in the others. Trust is the key. Trust in the love of God and love God gives us to share in relationship with the others we are called to live with in community. Finding our way to that trust is the dance of perfection.

With you on the journey,

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