Sunday, May 12, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect

A self-proclaimed perfectionist, I am the furthest thing from perfect. I make mistakes all the time. I make bad decisions. I do things that I regret. Even just right there, I misspelled regret (I actually did it again when writing it for a second time!). The perfectionist in me, though, fixed it.

The difference between a sinner and a saint isn't that the saint never fails. It's that after failing, the saint picks himself back up and tries again.

Only two perfect people ever walked the face of the Earth: Jesus and His Mother Mary. That's it. Even John the Baptist, who was probably pretty darn good, said that he was unfit to even loosen the strap on Jesus's sandals. We know Peter's fallible story. Paul was Saul. Augustine needed his mother to advocate on his behalf in prayer in order to turn more fully toward God. Ignatius had aspirations to be a hero in physical warfare, not spiritual.

The Communion of Saints is filled with reformed sinners. It's not that they didn't sin; it's that they continued to get back up after falling.

I wouldn't have a job (or at least the job that I currently hold) without imperfections.

Life would be pretty boring without imperfections.

Faith would be unnecessary without imperfections. We'd have no need for a Savior. We'd have no need for each other.

Life would be perfectly imperfect without imperfections.

In this way, being imperfect isn't a bad thing. It's doesn't make me bad. It doesn't make salvation an unattainable goal. It makes me human. God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He expects me to try.

How awesome would it be if in our schools we found a way to humbly accept our imperfections while at the same time not settling for them? Envision how incredible schools could be if administrators admitted that they were wrong. Imagine if parents and families embraced the fact that their children make mistakes. Consider the tremendous growth that teachers could experience by pledging to a spirit of continuous improvement. See the irony in the fact that places of education - Catholic schools included - have existence because of imperfections and yet have such a difficult time coming to terms with them.

It's not complacency with mediocrity. It's not pessimism. It's acceptance.

I am imperfect and God loves me. You are imperfect and God loves you. Every student and teacher and parent and family member and administrator in every school - Catholic and public and private alike - are imperfect and loved by God.

This acceptance doesn't keep me or us in the mud. It liberates us to get back up no matter how many times we fall face down into it.

Get back up. Get back up. Get back up.

You are perfectly imperfect and you are perfectly loved.

Accept it.

And get back up.