Has everything to be perfect? Your family life, your job, your wedding day, any day? If everything has to be just right, the stakes are high that the first step is not taken lightly. If everything needs to be perfect we hesitate to live with less weight, apply for a new job, press the "ship it" or "go" button, refrain from proposing an idea that is around for some time and resist the inspiration to look into something new.
Forward is the only way and we can start from what we have and we are now. It is enough. No need to living in fear that you will make mistakes by not understanding all the moves down the road (or draws on the chess board). Our world is filled with imperfect, and humility acknowledges where we stand. This is the way to pass through imperfection. Perfection is God's prerogative, perfection is spiritual - and it is for everyone. No one is more "perfect" than anybody else. Perfection is spiritual. It is the signature feature of the kingdom of heaven - the realm of the real, the dimension of Spirit.
From this spiritual, realistic perspective the Bible is a huge inspiration - it tells us about normal, imperfect people and imperfect settings. It talks about the arrival of Jesus in a modest manger, writes about followers and disciples of Jesus as people with flaws, doubts, tempers, questions, and courage. It describes upbringings in impossible surroundings, unexpected setbacks, betrayals and hopes, not to mention challenges confronting men and women of truly gigantic proportions. Imperfections and shortcomings everywhere.
Mary Baker Eddy, a spiritual reformer and author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - a fabulous Bible commentary in its own right - has this advice for us:
"To do good to all because we love all, and to use in God's service
the one talent that we all have, is our only means of adding to that talent and the best way to silence a deep discontent with our shortcomings." (from Miscellany, p. 195)
Our shortcomings are similar to the ones of everyone else, don't you agree? So can we stop judging ourselves and start using what we have? We want motion, so the only way to move is --- to move. Trust more in God's loving support than your own ability to figure it all out. Sweep away all sense of exposing yourself to ridicule - take out of your efforts all sense of pressure. Do what you can, this will be enough. We can move forward with the simple desire to love - and see where it leads us. While Love's all-inclusive presence holds us close and guards our steps.
Imagine what aliens might hear if they listened to the earthlings from their space station on Alpha Centauri with their version of a giant radio telescope? Well, billions and billions of different sounds evaporating into time and space - inexplicable sounds, technical noise, explosions, machine guns, dogs barking, birds singing, flouting tea kettles, hundreds of washing machines spinning. Also billions and billions of cries, laughters, lots of technical noise - and an ever present human choir of murmur. Sung by murmurers. Thousands of years ago this choir enter the stage of the human condition, when the Israelites resisted their outlined path from slavery to freedom with complaining, questioning and murmurings - a Hebrew word meaning complaining and a "malicious whispering of slander", as a Dictionary has it. Murmuring is a kind of egoistic resistance to something good, it doesn't improve anything and keeps one pinned on the carousel of challenges. Talk about patience when remembering Moses (and read Exodus 16).
Humanity is a complaining species, one might think when one considers the resistance against the very good proposals for a different way of living as set forth by Jesus. What? Sharing? Humility and meekness? What? Walking a second mile? Giving your coat? Forgiving? The noise of complaint, an inner renitency against everything from accepting governments to doing the laundry to living peacefully with our neighbor to family members, who are different from us. Opposition, opposition, opposition.
Mary Baker Eddy is quoted in the diary of her secretary that whenever she felt tempted to murmur over her trials or burdens she would open her Bible to where the children of Israel murmured and found fault with God. I remembered this recently and have made it a point in leaving the choir of murmurers once and for all. And be willing to accept the abundant life, the freedom, lightheartedness, and joy that flows from the spirituality of being. Little complaints stem from the tale of desperation that material living brings - they make us stumble over small things or slow us down by fastening us with barbed hooks to material circumstances. It is said in the New Testament about Moses that he was chosen for the task to lead the children of Israel out of enslavement for one special quality: meekness. Meekness is the superb quality of being an empty slate before God, letting the supreme intelligence of the universe be expressed effortlessly and without any sense of questioning in our experience. That is the opposite of being a doormat - it means true unselfishness, true individuality.
What a relief to say "yes" to any demand. A life without sighing (not even when the doorbell rings and you have just sat down for a cup of tea and your favorite show), daily life as service. All the time needed to explain why this or that cannot be done: saved, by simply doing it. To refrain from murmurings puts humility into your heart and a joy into your day that supersedes everything else.
If you feel you cannot possibly do this, if you feel you have all the right in the world to feel the way you think you feel, give it a try for one week. Resist every attempt to resist good, eliminate feelings of competition and egotism, say yes to little requests from your surrounding, be generous. Just one week. And while you are up to the task, take a little break once in a while with a dance. This will help you to remember that you also have got that "sunshine in your pocket".
I feel that something of this is captured in the wonderfully gifted composer, performer, and musician Justin Timberlake's "Can't stop the feeling" - and I especially love the fact that it is about some sense of lightheartedness within the workforce. Working people! John, Paloma, Philip - is it a stretch to say, that the sunshine in your pocket is felt where labor is transformed into service and hardships accepted as a necessity to grow? The stand on the farmer's market where I get my groceries has this sense of joy and love day in, day out, spring, summer, fall, winter. Humbling.
My wonderful Christian Science teacher would say: Lets take the lemons and lets make lemonade from it. And how do lemons grow in the first place? With lots of sunshine.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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