Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lens of creativity, acceptance and love

We're not meant to be perfect. It's NOT in our DNA.

Wow, those words still ring in my heart as much, maybe more, deeply than they did Sunday when they leapt off the lips of our minister. She was offering a follow-up message to one a few Sundays earlier about perfection and, that in Jesus' original tongue of Aramaic, meant whole or complete.

They gave me permission to relax and recognize that so many worldly standards set us up for failure and frustration.

I confess that I had entered worship with something on my heart, the fate of the old school I inhabit, and wasn't completely open. Open enough for those words to get me percolating, letting them sift and filter through my conflict. As the pieces began to assemble, it was quite clear that some are looking for the PERFECT solution to an IMPERFECT problem and wisdom said to "look at the edges, to go outside." That's when I made this drawing:

Truly, this is a matter of getting the energy out of the box and how we're boxed in by perfection and rules. We require a free flow of ideas, not granite and stainless steel, which I'll hit on in a moment.

Perfection is a trap that holds in that which can not be attained or captured. Perfection is suffocating. It: 
divides and
is a power play.
When, instead, we need acceptance, which comes from a place of love.
The perfect kitchen, according to contemporary tastes, gleams with granite counters and finger-print-free stainless steel applicances. Someone has deemed it the cultural norm to be emulated, repeated, not lived without. It's everywhere: DIY shows, magazine ads, real-estate photos and highlighted in vacation-home rentals.

Simple Paris kitchen
A year ago when I was combing through airbandb.com and other vacation-rental websites, I was astounded that even the teeniest Paris apartment boasted granite and stainless. Why, I wondered? That's the American ideal. I wanted a typical Parisian kitchen, which we found up 76 winding stairs. The kitchen was tucked inside an alcove by the front door with a single sink, tile counter, stovetop, microwave, mini-fridge (white no less) and plates and utensils stacked openly on shelves or hanging. Simple and useful and so, very French. We celebrated some amazing feasts here.

MY kitchen with warm memories
Mine at home has been cobbled with laminate counters in a stone pattern, a matching stainless-and-black fridge and dishwasher a la Craigslist and a 15-year-old smooth top, black stove. The slate floor that reminds me of a creek bed was laid by my brother-in-law, who also custom made a shelved, hinged desk for a funky, not square corner. The table with oak top and original milk-green painted legs was an end-of-show deal at a fairgrounds 20 years ago. The New Orleans jazz painting hung in my childhood home and recently took up residence on a blank kitchen wall, where it has always belonged. The island is a faux-painted cabinet on wheels retrieved from my Quaker Meeting and topped with an Ikea butcher-block slab.

Paris kitchen #2
My kitchen is anything but perfect, a hodge podge of things sentimental and practical. I LOVE my kitchen in all its quirky, imperfect splendor. And, yes, there are some improvements I would like to make, but it seems so crazy to worship an impossible ideal whether in our homes or ourselves.
Tuscan kitchen

I adore my studio in a 1912 building so many recently have said is worthless. Almost 50 autistic kids attend school in one section, hungry parochial-school kids eat lunch in its cafeteria five times a week, pliable gymnasts bounce all over its auditorium/gym  and a hand full of artists create from their classroom studios. Does this sound like a lifeless shell?

When we can recognize the implicit imperfection in the world, we can re-imagine and re-purpose building on those flaws and, even accept, things as they are. That's the lens of creativity, acceptance and love.

• How do I see the world's imperfections?
• How do I see my own?
• To what standards of perfection do I hold myself and others?
• How can I rid myself of that false ideal?
• Where can I find acceptance from the place of love?

in a throw-away
a 103-year-old
has little chance
of survival

not even if
it's witnessed

housed, fed
and educated

served the

memories and

been repurposed
barely tended
and awaiting

for what it is,
yet functional

can't we see
this as a metaphor
for ourselves

and come
to its rescue?

Listen to this post:

1 comment:

  1. OH my how timely your post. I have been considering - opening too - being curious about - the space of imperfection, while continuing to wrestle with my own judging mind. Thank you for your honesty and care. Thank you.