“How is the weekend project going?” Michael asked. “I got the curtains hemmed,” answered Diem, “except the floor isn’t level and now one side is longer than the other.” “Hmm, maybe it’s a reminder that life isn’t perfect but can still be beautiful.”
Yes, that was a real conversation between us from not long ago. We’ve had a lot to say lately about things not being perfect, too many posts to try to link to them all from here. But those have been more theoretical perfections, or non-perfections – you can’t give more than 100%, practice makes positivity not perfect, not all failures are disastrous nor successes absent of obstacles. There are no perfectly good or perfectly bad situations.
But what of physical characteristics? It is certainly one thing to say no matter how hard you practice, you can always get better, but is there really no such thing as “perfectly level,” or absolutely straight? Our answer to that is, does it matter? There is no perfectly level, perfectly plumb, or perfectly square in nature, yet no one can say there is no beauty in nature. What is more special, perfection or beauty?
Someone once asked Bob Marley for his idea of the perfect woman. He answered, “Who cares about perfection. Even the moon is not perfect, it is full of craters. The sea is incredibly beautiful but salty and dark in the depths. The sky is always infinite, but often cloudy. So, everything that is beautiful isn’t perfect. It’s special.”
An art teacher once told Michael not to make the horizon perfectly level. Not even in a seascape where in the distance there looks to be no imperfection in the imaginary line between sea and sky is that division straight and true. On the ocean are always tides. Waves always ebb and flow. Even so far away that you can’t see them, they are there, interrupting the perfection of that line, but not of its beauty, or of that which makes it special, a one of kind experience never to be known again.
We know people are far from perfect. That must be clear as everyone is different. The idea of perfection would seem to preclude variables and without those variables, what would make us interesting to each other. People’s appearances can be pleasing or pleasant, or sometimes even beautiful, but never perfect. Still there is a special beauty in all of us.
Even our greatest emotions are not perfect. Fred Rogers said of love, "Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now," which might be the most beautiful thing we can ever hope to do.
We stand by our contention that you can practice as long as you want and you will never be perfect, or you can work as hard as you want and you can never give 100%. We will go through our lives with unlevel floors, uneven curtains, horizons that aren’t straight, and the moon filled with craters.
There is no perfect in nature, but there is a whole lot of beautiful and special.