I’m pretty good at accepting others, warts and all. My strong belief is that it’s best to meet people where they are. That nobody’s perfect. Any expectation that a person “should” be is ludicrous.
Except, of course, when it comes to me. A different standard applies in my case. I must succeed at being perfect – it’s an imperative. (It’s an impossibility – I can attest.) Anything less is abject failure. I have failed a lot in my life, in large part because of this ideal.
Is it an ideal, though? Or a setup? I’m leaning toward the latter. In a Jewish sense, we are made in God’s image. God is perfection, some would have us believe. I actually don’t subscribe to that belief. Sometimes, I think that if God had been perfect, Adam and Eve would never have had to leave Eden. They wouldn’t have been tempted by the apple (Eve by the snake and Adam by Eve, as the story goes). God wouldn’t have had to test Abraham’s loyalty by having him bind Isaac for sacrifice. God would have trusted the creatures of God’s creation. What a boring story that would have made, though. Right?
So – maybe we’re all imperfect beings. If I’m made in God’s image, and God is imperfect, then I can also be imperfect. Even if God is perfect, I can still be imperfect, because I’m not God. Although…I tend to hold God to a high standard.
Today, then, is about acceptance of my imperfection. Its inherence. The acceptance that the sparks of light inside me are themselves the result of imperfection. The imperfection of the vessels that originally held the divine light of God – vessels that were too weak to hold such power. According to Isaac Luria, a/k/a The Ari (a 16th century Kabbalist), those vessels shattered into shards, spreading the sparks of holy light throughout our world. (Read here for more – it’s quite interesting.) If that is true, we are, each of us, imperfect and broken. Together, I believe, we can reach toward an imperfect perfection.
And I can accept that.
Once again, I’m participating in #blogElul, which I have followed for a few years. I’ve found it helpful as I ponder and reflect in the month before the High Holidays – Yamim Noraim. Check out some of the amazing themed posts geared around the work and joy of Elul – of introspection and reflection in the days leading to the High Holy Days (Organized by Ima Bima.) You can read prior years’ #blogElul posts via the Elul tag.