The Quest for Perfection

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“Who are you to judge the life I live?
I know I’m not perfect
-and I don’t live to be-
but before you start pointing fingers…
make sure you hands are clean!”
Bob Marley

I have been thinking alot about perfection lately. What I have been thinking about it would probably surprise you. At this ripe age of 57, I am relieved to find that I have very little interest anymore in being a perfectionist.

Why? Perfection is usually unachievable and based on perception. What I may think is perfect, you may not. And what you may think is perfect, I may not. To the degree that we differ, what lies in that gray area? (probably a big difference of opinion)

I will tell you this. I believe that only what is created by nature and the universe is rooted in perfection. When I look at the magnificent sky every day, a honeybee on my basil plant, the face of a new born baby, I know this is perfection. The sun, moon, and stars are perfection. The dew on the morning grass is too.

So what does this awareness do for me? It releases me from the quest of having to do things over and over, ad nauseam. It also gives me the permission to apologize- which I do fairly frequently- without guilt. After all, I am not perfect.

What this isn’t is an excuse. It is not a reason to not try harder; I must be alittle more diligent about my health, attentive to my family, and nicer and kinder to wait staff at restaurants. If I am to be a spiritual being living a human life, I need to not forget that all living creatures are deserving of unconditional love and respect.

Two people passed away that I knew in the last week. Yes, it was sad. I went to the funeral of Margaret (yiayia Teta) this past Monday. There was something at the luncheon afterwards that blew me away. Yiayia had nine grandsons. Seven of them were there. Before we all ate, they stood in a line and said their favorite yiayia memories. It was unforgettable.

I couldn't help taking this picture. Gorgeous- all of them.
I couldn’t help taking this picture. Gorgeous- all of them.

These were truly kleenex moments. What I loved best was each one of them said that yiayia told him he was her favorite. I need to remember that. It is priceless.

At the funeral before the luncheon, I actually listened to the words of the priest. He did most of the service in English and I don’t remember hearing SO much of it ever before. He said basically, you can’t take it with you. Wow, you really can’t.

I was reminded (again) this week how fleeting life is. It is over in the blink of an eye. Why waste another moment on the relentless pursuit of perfection, unless it’s the God created variety? My friend Shelly gave me a little plaque once that said “Good Enough is Really Good Enough.” It was the (haha!) perfect gift. I got it out the other day and set it on my dresser. It’s a good time to be reminded of it.

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
Michael J. Fox

 Don’t forget to check out my sharings on the Orthodox Christian Network.

Join me on my graceful journey.

17 Replies to “The Quest for Perfection”

  1. Wow, Joanne, that was another powerful post. I have been struggling with perfectionism for a very long time! I never saw myself as a perfectionist because I didn’t fit MY PERCEPTION of a perfectionist! To me, a perfectionist was someone who always DID thing perfectly! I have always fallen well short of that, ha ha! My house has always been a mess because I don’t have time to do things ‘perfectly’…so I put it off until I have to make time to! I am still struggling to let og of it, but yes…Good Enough is Good Enough!

  2. I agree, Joanne…another beautifully written post. And I think, in your fifth paragraph is where God’s perfection begins in each of us. Doing our best every moment, whatever that best is for that moment is enough. Thank you for sharing something so poignant.

    Blessings for the day,
    Marianne xo

  3. Hi Joanne, awesome post and what a great reminder for all of us!! I love the quote on the plaque…”Good enough is really good enough.” I know that is something I want to remember and remind myself of. I really enjoyed reading your blog today.

  4. Lovely, Joanne. Michael J. Fox’s quote rang so strong and true that I stopped to copy it on a note card. This week I turn 66, and though I love retirement and am very busy and satisfied teaching adult writing classes now and traveling to visit family, it’s been a conscious effort to set aside perfectionism. What you shared about the funeral was an emotional reminder.

    1. Happy Birthday Marylin! I loved that Michael J. Fox quote as well. I’m trying to slow down a bit, especially since I am my mom’s main caretaker these days. The two funerals were a reminder of what’s really important. Hope you are doing something fun for your birthday! xo

  5. Do you still have a like button? Because I like your post and I have no button to click. 🙁 I particularly enjoyed your story of the basil which gives me yet another reason to love this lovely herb.

  6. Each of my mother’s grand children still argue that they were her favorite. the truth is that each grandchild was special in their won way and all were her favorites. Those grandchildren were correct. They were her favorite. No need for competition.

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