Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Life...a cuckoo clock with rusty gears" (Anne Lamott)

I have a hard time with imperfection. Imperfection in others, and most especially in myself, offends me. We are made in God's image, so why, I frequently ask Him, did He leave out the 'perfect' part?

I don't like to know that my paintings are less than masterpieces, that I will never play the guitar like Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello, that my tapestries are not ones that that the Louvre will ever choose to hang, that my hair is grey and even laughter is giving me more wrinkles every day, that my house is dusty and my garden is filled with weeds, and that I always sing a bit flat.

Anne Lamott (Stitches) has said that "life is more like a cuckoo clock with rusty gears" than it is perfect. 'Life is hard, and then we die': both a goofy old bumper sticker, and a Truth. Life can be cruel and heartless, though we can find kindness and compassion within it. Life can be everything that is imperfect... in fact, life is everything that is imperfect. How can it be otherwise, when it is populated by such imperfect beings as I?

I look for pockets of perfection, but I rarely find them. The few I have discovered have found me when I was not looking or expecting them. Perfection seems to come in very tiny doses: a child's love, an unexpected hug from a friend, a moment of beauty in nature or art or music that brings tears of wonder to my eyes, shared laughter, and tiny glimpses of compassion and understanding for or from others.

Imperfection, on the other hand, seems to bombard us constantly. We are slammed in the face with ugly violence, with deceit, with greed and hatred. All of those are so far from the perfection that is God, that is Love.

I would have liked, as I grow older, to have come to a greater understanding of this life; to know why, to understand the meaning of all the imperfection in our lives and our world. But that has not happened for me. Age has not brought about an understanding, or even an acceptance. I continue to rage at inequality, at cruelty, at violence for the sake of greed or power. I still do not understand or accept when children become victims of these things, when families and nations are torn apart by them.

The bad news? 'Life is hard, and then you die.'
The good news? 'Life is hard, and then you die.'

That is the only hope I have to give for dealing with all these imperfections. Someday, I will be perfect. And then I will understand. I will know the 'whys' of the Sandy Hook massacre, of wars and of weeds. I have that hope, because I know it is not in my hands, nor in the hands of those who are as imperfect as I, but in the hands of my God. And, because of His Son and His sacrifice and resurrection, I will someday face him as a perfected me.


Debbie said...

Your entry speaks to me as it reflects a lot of my thoughts. Unfortunately my views do not reflect yours at the end. I have no wish to be perfect, it brings to much stress and worry, I just want to be the best that I can be. We are all imperfect because that is the way we are, there is no higher being who is going to bring perfection to the sorry state of our planet today, that is all down to us. Our greed and selfishness and it is up to us to rectify it.

K Spoering said...

Debbie, I know your viewpoint is far more common than mine is. But I am glad I have a 'happy ending' to look forward to in this sad world.
I agree that trying to be perfect is a stressful way to live. I am constantly reminded of my imperfections, which makes me very glad that I am not in charge of things! 8-)

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