Repinski: Lent season speaks to our imperfections

Published 9:28 am Friday, March 18, 2016

Imperfections are such a part of our journey. They cast us down, create messy self-images, and divest us of energies to “try again.”

But, and hang on a bit — there’s another way to engage that which befalls us with, call it failures, or missing the mark. Really now, it is, believe me, to learn and be empowered by an imperfection; the haunting that says, when we are intimidated by another, “we will not attain to that level.”

Time for — call it a spiritual evaluation. I suggest one is encouraged to steps that go forward, up, and balanced by reading a novelist and essayist, Annie Dillard. Read please, then pause, and read again:

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“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along … I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty beats and shines not in its imperfections, but overwhelmingly in spite of them, under the wind-rent clouds, upstream and down.”

Let us catch a resilient sentence: “… shines not in its imperfections, but overwhelmingly in spite of them.” Now together we repeat three times — are you with me? “in spite of them, in spite of them, in spite of them!” I feel better already! The following contains three reminders that may aid us in our spiritual journeys to see so-called imperfection in a new light:

One: A question to build on Ms. Dillard’s thought — what shines in your life? I will say to myself some events will not hold me back! Like what? An illness, loss of a job, financial difficulties, a divorce, receiving put-downs at work, TV ads that suggest that we are not beautiful or masculine enough. We all have our stories. Grandma would say: “My dear, what can you learn from that?”

Two: We may be comparing ourselves with illusions, somebody’s lies, kinds of misrepresentations, being in the grip of impossible dreams, or allowing one disgraceful moment to mock us into self-hatred. A reality check. My faint recall is a movie called “My Fair Lady.” What I remember is a lovely person, Eliza Doolittle. It was not going well in her life. What to do? Singing was like a puff of magical air. And the subject? “Don’t talk of love lasting through time — show me now.” We are built for love. To give it and receive it is the great drama of life — and the now of Eliza can be our now!

Three: Did I not hear on at least one occasion: “Get a life!” Meaning for me, the possibility that there is more than a fallen rotting tree. There is also a tree that first blossoms with beauty, produces delicious apples, and is generous in its crop. The crop is for apple pies and some for the birds and squirrels. Also among the cardinals are the crows. Go away crows!

In Lent or other times, that ole’ Bible has, for some persons, a supportive invitation to reality: Matthew, (10: 29-30), was having a good day! He shares his perception: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted.” This poetic voice believes there is care in the human family. Could it be that once we embrace that imperfection, it is, at least in part, pushed to the sidelines?