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What is Perfect?

November 19, 2009

Look at any tree. Rarely do you find one perfectly shaped. All show signs of suffering. In the city, tree branches are trimmed away from telephone and electric lines. In nature, burls are scabs showing healing of an old wound. Tent worms eat foliage. Woodpeckers drill holes looking for insects. Trees are survivors, and most live lots longer than we do.So what does it mean to be perfect? From my Latin studies I remember the word’s root meaning: ‘thoroughly made.’ It’s easy to say, “It takes a lifetime to grow.” It’s harder to be patient with growing. We like things complete, finished – admit it – we like things perfect. It consoles me to understand that I am a work in progress, that I don’t have to be perfect today. I’m allowed – encouraged – expected – to grow and become the person I am meant to be. Then I can honor myself and the struggles I have endured to grow and be where I am today – just like the trees.

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