I just finished reading a book, “North of Beautiful” by Justina Chen. Chen tackles our concepts of physical beauty vs. TRUE or authentic beauty.
Who are the people and what are the “things” we love most in the world? The people I love most? Easy. My children and my family. (Family includes those who may not share DNA, but share a mind and heart).
Do I love based upon perfection? Not even close. Perfection is actually off putting and somewhat intimidating. I think perceived perfection is more a more apt descriptor, as there is truly no perfection in this world. I can admire perceived perfection, but my heart is reserved for the messy. I think it has something to do with common humanity, and an admiration for those who persevere, even after they fuck up.
My favorite possessions? The things I would grab in a fire? The very authentic and perfectly imperfect notes and pictures from my loved ones, especially my bio children and students. I would rather have a misspelled and roughly illustrated note on a somewhat crumpled slip of paper than a perfectly crisp Hallmark card any day of the week.
Yet, it is difficult to extend this love for my own messy and imperfect self.
I share too much. I trust too quickly. I react too quickly. I eat too much. I drink too much. I don’t produce enough. I don’t work hard enough. I sleep too much. I spend too much time on social media. I am depressed. I am anxious. I make poor dating choices. I don’t establish and stand by my boundaries, and then I get angry when said boundaries are trampled. My thighs are too big, my eyes are too puffy…and on and on and on.
All of the above is true. Yet, I’m still loved by my family and friends. Not because I’m perfect. But because I keep showing up, despite my imperfections. (And I’m hilarious, ask my children.)(OH, and I can cook, see the note!)
Matthew 5:48 has always been a sticky point for me. “Be ye perfect, even as I am perfect.” No small order. In further study, the Greek word for perfect as used in this scripture means complete or whole. (it is a genderless adjective BTW) If we believe that Christ is indeed of both human and divine parentage, His wholeness or completeness would encompass BOTH attributes. Divine and the flesh, male and female, be complete. Exist as a whole. It in no way means without fuck ups.
Beauty in the whole. Beauty in completeness. Beauty in simply being.
Light and Love,