We strive for perfection in all that we do. It is part of our ethic. That effort to do our work the very best we can, to strive for perfection, is a good and necessary thing. However, we must accept that we always fall short, even if only in some small way.
When I pick up something I wrote months, years, even a decade ago, I know that at the time I strove to make it perfect. I often drove those who helped me as hard as I could toward achieving perfection. I here and now apologize to all of them. Without exception I have found, and without much effort, some glaring imperfection in what I and others worked so hard to make perfect. It frustrated me. Why, with all that effort, can we not avoid such glaring errors. What am I to do with that?
Well, I have recently come upon some Navajo wisdom that I find helpful. In a Navajo rug there is always a flaw. There’s always one part of it is a glaring mistake. It is intentionally woven in to the warp and weft. Interestingly, in Navajo belief, that is where “the Spirits move in and out of the rug.” If the rug were perfect it would not be whole. It would be bereft of the blessing of the Spirits. It can never be flawless. Some flaw is required to allow the rug to be fully whole.
So, I have come to think that perfection is not the elimination of flaws. Perfection, rather, is the ability to incorporate the inevitable flaw! Perfection in the sense of flawlessness is not possible. I can not live that way. Perfection in the sense of being able to accept and respond to my own flaws and those of others is possible. I can live that way, and live well. I can either incorporate imperfection, or fall into frustration at my imperfection and all the stress that comes with that.
Guess which I want to choose.