This past week, I was installing a floor in one of the rooms in my house. Now, true confession, usually when I take on a home improvement project, somewhere near the beginning I think, “What in the world have I gotten myself into?” I carry on, taking it one step at a time until it happens. I have a meltdown and looking at the work I have just done, thinking something like, “It looks like a third grader did it!”
However, this floor project was going so smoothly. No, “What was I thinking?” No comparing my work to that of a child. When the floor was done, I was so proud. It looked perfect! I still had a bit of trimming to do, and that was the big mistake. Suddenly, I looked with horror at the big gash in the middle of the new floor. Yes, there was a melt down, but when the tantrum was over, I looked around and the floor still looked pretty amazing. The gash is now covered by an area rug.
The ancient monks and scribes who copied the Bible by hand always made sure they made one mistake in copying the text. The reason for making the error in copying the text is that in their religious tradition, no one was perfect but God alone.
I think that may be a good attitude for each of us to carry: no one is perfect, except for God. I don’t mean to say that we should let ourselves off the hook for doing or saying hurtful things. I think this is helpful to remember because so often in our lives we think if we don’t do something perfectly then we have failed. What would change in our lives if we accepted our best efforts, even when they aren’t perfect, especially when they aren’t perfect? Would we be able to see what we offer the world and what others offer the world for the incredible gift that it is? How would our lives change if we knew, deep in our hearts, that perfection is not required?