…if you’re perfect.” Alanis Morissette
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of perfect. So many people strive to be perfect. Okay, call me a nerd, but I decided to look up the dictionary definition of perfect (you know, as opposed to the *other* kind of definition.) Here’s what dictionary.com called perfect: Lacking nothing essential to the whole. Interesting, that. See, I always thought perfect meant that everything is together, everything is *just right* or without flaw. I was wrong. As I sit here, I am whole. Sure, there are things in my heart that will change, grow, and form. But as I am, in this moment, I am whole. So even though I have this mental shopping list of things I believe I need in order to achieve perfection, by definition I am already there. Perfect as I am, with room to grow and add. Sure, I’d like to have a 4.0, but that is not essential to making me whole. I guess that’s why it gets so tricky, even dangerous: we want something so badly we begin to believe our wholeness depends on its presence. There is only one instance when that would be okay, and that instance is finding peace about God. I do believe that my wholeness depends on the presence of peace about God, about my ideas of who God is and how much of myself I’m willing to give to God.
Yes, we all know the idea of perfection is silly; we know we can’t really really be perfect. So why do we work so hard for it? Why do we place so much of our self-value in what we *do* as opposed to who we are? Do I honestly expect those around me to be perfect? Hell no! I’m way more forgiving with other people! Shoot, it takes quite a bit to make me mad, and I actually can’t think of any examples, short of somebody throwing a cricket on me. Oooh, that would make me mad, especially if it were a zombie cricket and it would try to eat my face and I would have to spend the rest of my life running from the hordes of zombie crickets out to eat my face, assuming of course that I got away from the original cricket that started the whole fiasco in the first place. Yeah, so that would make me mad. I’m even a little angry about the idea right now, and it’s 5am and nobody is even around. So you’ve all been warned: NO ZOMBIE CRICKETS!!
Anyway, as I’ve gotten quite off topic, and you all are thinking “blah blah fishcakes,” …sorry. My point was this: I’m way more forgiving when it comes to other people than I am when it comes to myself. Do I love my roommate less when she makes a B? Pshaw. Do I love my Yankees less when they choke? No!
I know, this is silly because of course we are supposed to be harder on ourselves than we are on others. This is self-accountability and it is good. But, like so much, it can be taken too far. There’s this quote that I love, by the yogi Sri Aurobindo: “By your stumbling, the world is perfected.” Doesn’t that just make you take a deep breath? Like, you have permission to just “be?” To just be chill in the moment? In who you are? I definitely believe you can be whole and imperfect at the same time.
I love the television show Joan of Arcadia. It is the only show I am determined to watch each week. I love seeing God in all these different forms: as a little girl with sparkly antennae, as a dog-walker, as a Rastafarian street performer, even as homeless man digging in the trash. (If you want the honest truth though, I’m not okay with the Cute Guy God. It’s odd to see him onscreen, think about how much of a super-cutie he is, and then realize that you are attracted to “God.” Hm.) Anyway. This show really does an excellent job of showing how God could appeal to everyone. And the one thing each God avatar has in common is this: each one is Chill. Chill with the world, chill with the peole, chill with Joan, even when she’s being snotty. God in this show doesn’t get caught up in wanting everyone to be perfect; instead, God embraces everyone as they are by stepping into so many different shoes and embracing everything about that character. I see that as love.
Another thing about God on this show that I love: God is all about free will. In practically every episode, God reminds Joan that she doesn’t have to do what he/she is asking, but all the while assuring there is a reason from which each request or task comes. And this God encourages questions, encourages searching, even encourages snarkiness. (Which, if that’s any indication of God God, it bodes well for me that he/she appreciates some snark now and then). Seriously. Watch this show. Or go to www.televisionwithoutpity.com and read Deborah’s recaps on Joan of Arcadia.
One of my favorite God/Joan moments comes when God asks Joan to take a make-up class. Yup, like the face kind of make-up. She sitting there, trying to figure out lipliner, with my favorite God avatar sitting right next to her: Goth God. I. Love. Goth God. He’s this skinny kid with piercings and jet black dyed hair, and all this makeup. Anyway, they’re discussing lipliner and stuff, and Joan complains about not having any good features. From TWoP: “Goth God raises his head from adding more lipliner to his already more than made-up mouth, and says, ‘Everyone has a best feature, Joan. I saw to that.'” See? So simple, yet so encouraging.
Anyway, I’m not sure what Joan of Arcadia has to do with perfection, except maybe I just never see God demanding perfection from her. And God asks her to do some pretty questionable things, so I’m only saying. Maybe if we lightened up on ourselves a bit, we’d be able to see what God truly sees, and maybe even be able to identify that best feature. I don’t know, it’s late and I don’t sleep anymore.
So to sum up: I am whole, yet imperfect, but the world is perfected by my stumbling. Joan of Arcadia rocks, and NO ZOMBIE CRICKETS. Yup, I’d say this has been productive.
Ooooh, and before I try to get some sleep: Please please please vote today!!! I don’t care who you vote for (well, maybe a little), but for goodness sake, just go vote!! It’s quite the ballot: You’ve got Kerry, whose face is perpetually melting, but has some pretty good ideas. You’ve got Nader, who has always been pretty awesome. And you’ve got Bush, who is the biggest cracker ass cracka ever, so how could that not be fun?? Vote, sucka!
Mood at the Moment: Oh. So. Sleepy.
Music at the Moment: Joan Osbourne: What if God was [sic] one of us? (hee).