Ideal but not perfect

I have one of my grandmother’s quilts. It is made up of 12 blocks of hand-embroidered roses. Eleven of those blocks point the same direction—toward the top of the quilt. One does not. The middle block in the bottom row turns to the side of the quilt like a disobedient child.

This imperfection might bother other people, but that errant block makes me love it all the more. That beautiful imperfection, stitched right into the fabric, is what separates the quilt from ordinary. 

Last week I wrote about how my church was ideal but not perfect. The quilt of that community has blocks pointing in different directions, but those beautiful imperfections, stitched right into the fabric, are what separate us from the ordinary. 

As long as we gracefully accepting our imperfections.

Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way, writes:

Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do is ever good enough . . .

Perfectionism stirs in the roots of a lot of misfortune. Books languish on shelves because writers struggle to make every word pure gold. Friendships die when past wrongs don’t meet forgiveness. Kids sit on the sidelines of playing fields, afraid of dropping the ball.

The most successful people in life have a finely honed sense of good enough.

They relentlessly pursue the ideal and gracefully accept the imperfect.

Roger Federer (my idol) is an ideal tennis player, but even he blows balls out the end of the court. When he does, he accepts the imperfection, walks up to the service line and strives for the ideal on his next play. Masterful.

Would I love Roger Federer as much if he never blew a ball out the end of the court? If every serve was an ace, would I grow tired of him? Maybe start to cheer for the opposition? I think so. We don’t really want perfection. We like a few wrinkles in our fellow humans. Imperfections separate us from ordinary and endear us to others all the more.

In our careers, in our friendships, in our social groups, and in our faith communities, strive for ideals, but gracefully accept our beautiful imperfections. Life is far more interesting if an occasional quilt block points the other way.

Advertisements

About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on November 26, 2010, in Belief, good faith and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. That’s a sermon I’ve been meaning to preach. Now I don’t have to!
    thanks Arlene.
    ellie

  2. It is in the Amish tradition of quilt making to deliberately make an error because the only perfect thing is God. While striving for excellence and beauty in their quilt-making they also honour what they most revere. This error is not a blemish but an act of humility.

    • I used to wonder if the mistake by my grandmother was intentional in that way, but I don’t remember her making similar decisions in other quilts. I think it was just a mistake, and she was just practical enough to leave it be, thinking that the quilt would still keep people warm, one way or the other. It does. It’s ideal that way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Yellingrosa's Weblog

Poetry, Visual Arts, Music and IT Tech

wordsthatserve

Breathe, read...smile

simplisticInsights

Simple made easy! psychology love feeling emotion thought behaviour success strategy

Diary Of A Growing Black Man

Personal website sharing life experiences and vision

Jay Colby

Life, Inspiration & Motivation

Health Sources

Health , Beauty and Food

A Little Blog of Books

Book reviews and other literary-related musings

Reverend Erin

Thoughts on Ministry from a First-Time Minister

Mill Street Books

Almonte's bookstore carries books, music, family games, gifts and more.

Becoming...

"Every day is a great day to make a joyful noise!"

simple Ula

I want to be rich. Rich in love, rich in health, rich in laughter, rich in adventure and rich in knowledge. You?

Bliss B4 Laundry

Inspirational Events for Mind, Body & Soul + Ontario's Best Wellness Weekends for Women

SarveshG

Spread love before hate conquers.

Kone, Krusos, Kronos

A personal forum to express ideas, experiences, stories, etc.

deepakdheer

Just another WordPress.com site

matter of life and death

- perceptions from a widow's perspective

%d bloggers like this: