Friday, October 01, 2010

Perfection ...

There are times when I read something and I just sit and think to myself, "GOSH. How powerful. How eloquent. ... I wish that I'd written that."

Here's a link to one of those articles:

And ... I really do agree with that.

I am NOT perfect.
  • I yell at my kids when I get frustrated.
  • I get snippity with my husband.
  • I don't read my scriptures everyday ... let alone STUDY them.
  • Sometimes, I forget to pray by myself.
  • I'm not in the habit of praying over meals all the time.
  • My house is NEVER going to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens or any of those magazines featuring BEAUTIFUL, CLEAN houses.
  • I can be very sarcastic.
  • I can be over-sensitive ... and then I overanalyze other's remarks.
  • I worry. Far. Too. Much.
  • I use curse words.
  • I'm materialistic and shallow and vain.
  • I can be manipulative.
  • I'm lazy.
  • I'm never going to be supermodel slim.
  • Some people think that because I'm LDS that I'm automatically a self-righteous, homophobic polygamist and an affront to God. Or that I'm narrow-minded and ill-educated. Or that I'm just brainwashed and treated as a second-class citizen in my own home and church. ... These are not true. But some people are CONVINCED that this is how it is. And there's no way to convince them that anything else could be the truth.
I have many more imperfections, don't worry. I'm completely aware that I am flawed.

And still, with all those things ... I'm still able to be happy.
Maybe because I'm honest about my imperfections.
Maybe because I KNOW that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father, that He loves me -- even when I'm not perfect, that my nature is divine and that I am of individual worth. And that NOTHING that anybody ever says or does will change that.

So what if I'm .... more cuddly than svelte? Who really cares?
I have opportunities everyday to improve upon my habits (or habits-to-be) of scripture study and prayer, to develop patience with others and myself, to love others with more charity.

I have unlimited potential ... if I allow myself to realize it. Yes, I will not be THE. BEST. EVER. at everything ... Heck, I may not ever be the BEST. EVER. at ANYTHING ... but I can try. 
Because any effort is a GOOD effort.

One thing that I do seem to be good at is loving people ... I'm not ALWAYS great at it ... but I usually can appreciate others.

One thing that touched me recently was that, out of the blue, one of the girls I was friends with in high school wrote me a message on Facebook. About how she really appreciated that I never judged her. That my mom and I were such good Christian folk that it gave her faith in Christ (since there had been others who had told her off for her behavior as part of their "Christian duty"). She wanted me to know that she was turning her life around ... and that she was a much happier person. And she wanted to thank me.

I mean, really, just THINKING about this gets me all teary-eyed. I don't really take any credit as doing anything out of the ordinary. This girl is my friend. I genuinely liked (and still do, of course, like) her. I love her sense of humor and her candid nature. Being around her made me happy. 

I really can't imagine who would have reprimanded her for her behavior. Yes, she and I had different lifestyles, I suppose. We didn't spend much time outside of school together. But I was always thrilled to be able to talk and joke with her at school. (In fact, to be completely honest, I always felt SO. FLATTERED. that she'd allow me to be part of her circle while we were in classes. She was more popular than I was. And I was touched by her kindness in allowing awkward, dorky ME to hang around.)

True, there are times that I've been MUCH. LESS. KIND than what I should have been. I became the ONE. FRIEND. of a girl at school. And I needed space. I wrote her a note saying that I felt stifled. And I shared it with my friends ... mostly to check and see if I was being too harsh. And they all signed it. ... And I gave it to her anyways.
One girl at school (who wasn't very friendly to the one girl) called me out as a b**** over that.
No, I wasn't proud.
In fact, I really wish that I had a do-over on that one.
And, truly, I consider it a HUGE kindness on the one girl's part that she has allowed me to be her friend on Facebook. 

Life is a growing experience. And to demand perfection of anyone who's just learning something is not reasonable. ... When you're learning to play piano, your teacher doesn't sit you down and demand that you play sonatas flawlessly from memory on the first day. When you're learning a sport, they teach you the fundamentals before expecting Olympian-level performance.

I strongly believe that life is the same way.

We all are going to make mistakes. It's a learning experience.
Our duty is to LEARN from our mistakes and the experiences of others. To learn to make better choices and to deal with the consequences ... especially of choices that we shouldn't have made (or other's choices that were forced upon us).

We are free to choose our responses to the situations with which we are faced. 
We are free to choose if we will respond with love and joy and a willingness to learn and grow ... or with hate, despair, and irresponsibility.

I do worry about the choices that my children will have to make as they grow. And that's why it's my job, as their mother, to help them learn how to choose wisely for themselves. And to know that they are loved, regardless of what happens ... that Michael and I will love them and do our best to help them (or to find someone who can) solve their problems. And to rely on their Heavenly Father's love and guidance to help them through this learning experience.

Let's be kinder to each other. And to ourselves.
Perfection can be exhausting.

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