I have always been torn between perfect and good enough.
It began when my Dad demanded that “I work up to my ability” and get straight A’s in school – a feat I only managed once in 12 years. On the other hand, if I took too long trying to do something perfectly, Dad would be upset, “Get on with it, Girl. Stop dillydallying. It is good enough as it is.”
So was I supposed to be Perfect? Or Good Enough? Confusing.
One evening, as I lay on the Persian carpet tracing the pattern on the rug, I was astonished to see that there was an error in the pattern. We owned a not-perfect Persian carpet! I looked up at Dad to express my dismay and was dumbfounded when, without looking up from his book, he declared, “Only God is perfect. It is an insult to God to try to be perfect so the weavers make sure there is an error in their pattern.” I was skeptical and a little annoyed.
Many years later, my husband was rushed to hospital with a dangerously low heart rate. As I was reading to him, I would occasionally glance up at the monitor. Suddenly I noticed that his heart rate was not steady – it was constantly fluctuating 5 or even 8 points. Alarmed, I pressed the call button. It was the end of the shift, 7am, so the nurse took a while to respond. Looking weary, she explained to me that heart rate is not steady – what mattered was the average beats per minute (BPM) and the amount of variation. The medications were working: Ernest’s heart rhythm was fluctuating less and the BPM was approaching his normal.
So there you have it. People are imperfect – like airplane wings they are designed for imperfection, for wobble, for fluctuations. This is very good news.
Of course, I do expect that my doctor, scalpel in hand, will perfectly open me up without nicking an important organ or bleeding me out by puncturing an artery. I do hope that the person who packed my parachute has packed it perfectly. There are definitely times when only Perfect, will do.
However, here is the take away. Although we are born to be perfect – which to me means to be in harmony with ourselves and our environment – our creations may be flawed in some way. Not to worry, our efforts to be the best person we can will usually be Good Enough.
So go ahead, you with two left feet – dance your heart out. And you, who are tone deaf, sing like you are an angel. Cook a meal with a little too much salt, write a poem that is not perfectly rhymed. We are human. Even in our imperfections, we are good enough.
Don’t mess up with my parachute, though.