Practically Perfect

Growing up, my dad always cut my hair. I had some pretty bad haircuts. He would lure me into the chair telling me he was going to cut my hair just like Mary Poppins. I was probably 12 when I realized Mary Poppins had a bun. [Right? about the time VCR’s came out. back in the day when you saw a movie at 6 and just had to remember it, unless it was the “Movie of the Week” or something…]

Mary Poppins. Practically Perfect in Every Way. What a moniker!

Tucker and I had quite a bit of lively conversation about perfection back in the early days of our relationship. I spoke a lot about perfection – as in ‘imperfectly perfect’ like ‘that’s the perfect sweater for X because X loves gaudy sweaters.’ Tucker would get quite defensive about that indeed not being a perfect sweater by any means, even though it was suitable for X. Nuance.

It’s only now, 2 decades later, that I’m reflecting on that and I can see the deep well of conflicting concepts that sortof all existed in me and so thereby i saw them as unified. Not so.

I believe that God is in All Things. As in, God is everything and everything, collectively and individually, is God. That no separation exists between God and us or even that pesky mosquito. And even with that belief, I have a hard time with mosquitos.

I spent a lot of years trying to figure out what perfect was and then try to be it. In school it was easy: 100% on assignments and tests. Socially, it was far more complicated than that, and in retrospect I see that because I wasn’t going to meet any ideal in that spectrum, I sortof jumped off it. Exit, stage left. Which, paradoxically, put me in a more balanced relationship with the social aspects, but never did I try to achieve perfection in that arena. I guess I selected a few categories in which I had the potential to really shine and went for it. And maybe drove myself a little crazy.

Many years and an autoimmune disease later, I realized that in several key areas I was killing myself to achieve an imaginary goal with ever- changing and unreachable markers. Terrible idea. I’m glad my body brought it to my attention.

Now I cringe when I hear people say “perfect” much like Tucker doggedly insisted that even using it as a qualifier was both inaccurate and undesirable.

It’s a slippery slope, though. Josie’s last gymnastics meet a girl got a perfect score. It was a super big deal because that rarely happens (as Nadia Kominichi¬†(sp) showed in I’m guessing the 1976 Summer Olympics). What if that girl had me as a parent? “Don’t worry about perfect, focus your attention on the joy of the sport.” She may well not have gotten a perfect score, and I’m certain it was quite satisfying. And fleeting.

Fleeting. Yeah, that’s a whole ‘nother subject. For example, the concept of the average American household having 2.6 children. So, if you’re going for average as your perfection, in real terms it doesn’t exist. But, even when it does exist, it’s fleeting. A fetus is only .6 of the way developed for a very short time. One day in March, you’re the average American family, but from that moment forward, notsomuch.

Believing that God is everything, everything, then, is perfect. It’s a pretty straightforward concept. Yet it doesn’t take much looking at the world in general or in literally anyone’s life to see that things are very far from “perfect.” But, that’s based on an ideal that cannot incorporate the fullness of the concept (Plato’s Universals).

I’ve come to believe that everything is perfect in a context I have yet to understand, and that in any of the contexts I can understand, perfection is nothing to seek. It is largely unattainable and fleeting when it is. And in a universe based on constant change, that, I think, is perfect.

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