Monday, September 23, 2013

Perfection's Name is Love

"In the end, everything must become love. Perfection's name is love."Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Collected Sermons P. 165
After I published yesterday's post, I read it again, and thought briefly, "What was I thinking?" 

That thought often occurs when I have been completely honest. The desire to "self edit" rears up, the urge to present my "self" in a better light: to seem more humble--or pleasing in another way--take your pick from the list of common virtues! :) But what I posted was pretty much what I had written in my journal, and was what I really thought about yesterday, and the funny idea of changing what I wrote has a connection with something I was pondering this past weekend. 

It had to do with the basic imperfection that lies at the heart of us all and the way we struggle against its acceptance in ourselves and others.

I started thinking about this, when at the end of my work week, someone that I think of as highly professional, signed off an email in a way that left me smiling and thinking of the title of a book by John Ortberg that we once studied at our Thursday evening supper and study group: Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them

The fact is that the email let me see behind the professional "persona," to the slightly wacky humanity of a person and it gave food for my introvert brain for a satisfying number of hours!

I found myself thinking, truly no one is perfect; a fact that we have surprising difficulty with if you will stick with me as I try to explain.

What if we considered this fact a "given?" What if we went into our day, knowing in the core of our souls that we were about to engage with a world of people as flawed as we are, and with as much private weirdness as we have ourselves, and to expect it, not be surprised by it.

Handing people we meet invisible cards that grant them such acceptance is a gift rarely given, except to our closest friends.

Instead I tend to look "up" to others and "down" on myself. In doing so I do others a disservice because their pedestal comes with certain expectations. Expectations, along with their kinfolk, Assumptions, are usually a mistake and I don't like others having them about me.

I'm ending with a quote from a writer who has experienced a lot of flack for writing with vulnerability but whose book about the shame and blame game has impacted many. She came to mind when I was writing this. As for me, I am going to do my best to accept myself as kindly as I offer acceptance to others, and to remember, that as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote, "Perfection's name is Love."

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” ― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are


Susan said...

I had a comment - which I posted. But then I thought better of it and deleted it.

Good stuff - even if I'm not quite ready for it yet. :)

Belinda said...

Aaaargh! You know how curious that makes me? :)