Imperfect perfection

People are not perfect. Seems obvious, but we still keep stumbling over the reality in which someone turned out to be different than we imagined and did not meet our expectations. All that is happening in the world recently (or maybe since forever) can be expressed by one word:  “disappointment”. Those who were supposed to set an example and serve as a reference point turned out to be unable to do so. The only question is why are we constantly surprised. It should be known to us that “better to take refuge in the Lord, than to put one’s trust in mortals” (Psalms 118:8). Ecclesiastes recalls that “nothing is new under the sun!” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

It is not about lowering our expectations so much that nothing would surprise us, but rather about living in a realistic and not an idealistic world. In each of us, the image of God constantly mixes with the image of misery and despair. Only the proportions change. We can assume that a saint will have more of God, and a criminal more of the flawed human nature, but the depths of the hearts can be known only to the Creator himself, so it is worth remembering not to judge too quickly.

I realised recently that many of my mistakes and sins in life have their source in the expectation of perfection. Many times from others, but often also from myself. I do not mean perfectionism and clinging to details at all, but rather a lack of agreement that a human being can ruin literally everything. Precisely because he is just a creature. When I deprive myself or others of the right to make a mistake, it turns out that paradoxically at that time I am the least similar to God.

Sometimes I imagine how Jesus lived in the world and judging by the story told by the Evangelists, he had many reasons to look at the Apostles with disappointment and say: “Who am I working with?” Apart from Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial, we see his Apostles arguing about who is the greatest, not understanding what Jesus teaches and until the very end they thinking in the terms of this world. In the meantime, he very consciously decided to bring wisdom to the called instead of calling the wise ones. It is God who turns out to be the one who has no problem with weaknesses and failures. The problem begins when we start to pretend to be smarter than we are and we do not accept being ourselves. I think that that’s when we look as if we tried to bend ourselves to the shape of the circle, believing that it is a perfect figure after all.

About s. Ewa Bartosiewicz RSCJ

I am a religious sister from the Society of the Sacred Heart in Poland. In June 2015 I have made my first vows and started work in Gdynia as a catechist. Now I live in Poznań and am responsible for the Vocation Ministry.
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