"Imperfection:" Session No. 3 -- from Ch. 3, "In Praise of the Imperfect Life"

Opening words:

We have all heard poems, songs, and prayers that exhort us to see God in a blade of grass, a drop of dew, a child's eyes, or the petals of a flower.  Now when I hear such things I say thatís too easy.  Our greater challenge is to see God not only in the eyes of the suffering child but in the suffering itself.  To thank God for the sunset pink clouds over Red Hillóbut also for the mosquitoes I must fan from my face while watching the clouds.  To thank God for broken bones and broken hearts, for everything that opens us to the mystery of our humanness.  The challenge is to stand at the sink with your hands in the dishwater, fuming over a quarrel with your spouse, children at your back clamoring for attention, the radio blatting the bad news from Bosnia, and to say ďGod is here, now, in this room, here in this dishwater, in this dirty spoon.Ē

Preparation (distribute pencils and paper or note cards):

1.  Try to recall a few memorable, "perfect" moments in your life.  Describe one in detail.

2.  List some of the things about your life that are imperfect .

Discussion:

1.  Is it easier to recall your life's perfect moments or its imperfections?  Why?

2. Are there more imperfect moments in life than perfect ones?  Why?

3.  Do you feel closer to God (or Spirit or Life or Love or whatever word you use for "that which is of ultimate significance") in your "perfect" moments?

4.  What does it mean to have a spiritual life?  How do you cultivate your spiritual life?

5.  Have your experiences of imperfection, loss, or suffering ever brought your life greater richness or depth?

6.  Have they ever brought you closer to what you might call God or Spirit?

Closing words:

Donít talk to me about flowers and sunshine and waterfalls: this is the ground, here, now, in all that is ordinary and imperfect, this is the ground in which life sows the seeds of our fulfillment.  

The imperfect is our paradise.

Let us pray, then, that we do not shun the struggle.  May we attend with mindfulness, generosity, and compassion to all that is broken in our lives.  May we live fully in each flawed and too human moment, and thereby gain the victory.