As the sun was setting in the distant mountains, the glorious bursts of color were caught in the clouds. I stopped on my walk to fully absorb the magnificence of this desert sunset. A young man who was walking his dog stopped beside me and I said, “It’s really spectacular, isn’t it?” He shook his head and replied,”Yes, but they’re predicting that a bad storm is coming in later tonight.”
I was so busy focusing on the beauty of the sunset that I hadn’t thought of the storm that may come later. Then I thought of the many times that I, too, have focused on the weeds instead of the flowers, the thorns rather than the roses. Instead of creating a life of beauty and meaning, we often simply become better at seeing only what is broken. As Abraham Maslow once said, “If a man’s only tool is a key, he will imagine every problem to be a lock.” We must at least be conscious that we are making a choice.
It’s not easy to face the fact that nothing is perfect. Everything is flawed. That’s reality. Reality means taking off the rose-colored glasses and seeing the world as it is without distortion. Reality is what it is, forever free and untouched by our projections and interpretations, as well as our hopes and anxieties about it. We’re often so filled with fantasies about what should be that we fail to acknowledge and appreciate what is.
As we mature, we begin to look for the perfection in non-perfection. We learn to meet the world as it is, unafraid of its beauty and its blemishes. We find trust in the body, the emotions, in life itself as it unfolds. Wei invite the heart to sit on the front porch and experience from a place of rest the inevitable comings and goings of emotions and events.
One of the hardest things for us to realize is that there is no final perfect condition to rely on. It’s all fundamentally insecure, changing. We don’t learn this quickly – we have to let go into this ordinary perfection with its imperfections again and again.