“If everything is imperfect in this imperfect world, love is most perfect in its perfect imperfection.” –Gunnar Bjˆrnstrand
We strive for perfection even as we would readily admit that we and life are far from perfect. Things gone wrong, small errors in calculation, misjudgments are all part and parcel of life in 3D on earth. Learning to see the imperfections and failures that our life includes as equal blessings as the talents and successes we manage with our days is a great development toward positivity.
Of late, I am steeped in the estimation of imperfection as my latest and largest run of products have come back from the manufacturer imperfect. The perfection scale when it comes to “commercially acceptable” is a narrow window. The stakes are high when you are making thousands of anything. A seemingly small error multiplied by 12,000 can be pretty big. It’s weird too, how you miss the smallest of details, even after you have read over them and studied them from every angle a hundred times. This is the trick of the imperfections in life. They slip by because they look normal.
Something happened with the sealing machine. Mind you, it was state of the art, best tube sealing machine available, and every single tube (well except for maybe 2%) have some kind of odd indentation, melted plastic, bubbled front or back. Every day, I sort through hundreds of tubes, determining which are commercially acceptable. Comparing and contrasting imperfections until my eyes are crossed, and on a bad day recognizing the humor of it all can get morose.
Even as I remind myself of all the ways that I am grateful for the work I get to do, as I hit the 500th tube, I start asking “why me?” This is a slippery slope that can easily turn into self pity if I don’t catch it quickly. Learning how to live with and look beyond the imperfections, to love them and all the effort that went into getting to this place is a core lesson in positivity. A positive relationship to life cannot be founded on perfection. It has to start with how we relate to life’s imperfections and our own.
Annie Dillard wrote in her elegant prose of this very relationship: “I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them.”
Learning to love my own imperfections, which become more pronounced with my age is a gift and a challenge. The same for these 12,000 tubes; everyday, relearning how beautiful imperfection can be.