Monday, September 01, 2008

In Awe of Imperfection

For weeks, I have wanted to get away for twenty four hours alone with God. Twice things have come up. No big deal, I thought, I will do it in the future. In fact, how about early September? After Noah goes to school?

Perfect. A perfect plan.

I made the arrangements to go to a retreat center today out in a secluded forest and stay there in a little cabin overnight. I’ve been there before and I was very excited. All the plans were in place. I borrowed a couple of books from my brother and John was set to pick up Noah and take him to school tomorrow. I finished the laundry and cleaned up the house. I was ready for my perfect time with God. I had planned a date with Jesus and couldn’t wait.

But then…

The boy’s throat started to hurt. His nose started to run. Uh-oh.

This morning, my perfect plans fell apart. Now I sit here writing while Noah is on the couch covered with a blanket and a tissue box nearby. We see the doctor in a couple of hours.

At first, disappointment leaned against my heart and smashed it. Again? I have to cancel this again? John’s compassion helped. I fought back a few tears. I had been so excited.

Then I did what all of us have to do when life happens this way. I looked at Plan B.
Plan B involved a day at home, resting, reading, a little bit of writing and still hanging out with My Creator. In between looking after sweet Noah.

These are the kind of moments that either strengthen our faith or weaken it. The simple moments of disappointment can be such a wonderful tool for shaping our character. Those moments can also be used as a weapon to destroy joy. Our belief in the fact that God has it all under control can be dripped upon and eroded.

The outcome lies in a simple choice. Do I choose acceptance? Can I just accept Plan B, say Oh well, and still search for the gifts that lie within a simple day at home with a sick nine-year-old?

Or…do I choose the battle? The battle of fighting circumstances with my emotions. I embrace the anger of not getting my own way and I dwell within that place, somehow believing that my anger will change the path of life today. I throw a pity party and stomp around in passive aggressive angst, somehow believing that since I didn’t get what I deserved today, I will fight for my right to be happy through childish displays of self-centeredness.

I chose acceptance. When God wants me out in the forest, alone with Him, He will pave the way. “Perfect” plans just don’t exist. Only a Perfect Planner.

He knows. I don’t. Can I live with that?

I can. At least I will try to today. The feelings of disappointment haven’t disappeared, but they are not ruling the day. Perfection shmerfection!

I ran across the following poem by a Benedictine monk, Friar Killian McDonnell. He says it all:

“I have had it with perfection
I have packed my bags
I am out of here
Perfection straineth out
The quality of mercy,
Withers rapture at its
Hints I could have taken-
Even the perfect chiseled form of
Michelangelo’s David
The Venus de Milo
Has no arms
The Liberty Bell is cracked.”

Here’s hoping your day is full of God’s grace,
And empty of the chase of perfection.


Loretta said...


I wish I had your grace! I'd probably battle it, not accept it. I'd be mad. Maybe next time I'll remember your words of encouragement. If I don't, can i call you?

Jan Parrish said...

How disappointing. But because your attitude was right, God still blessed your day. I can so relate to this.