Sunday, 25 November 2012

The perfection of imperfection

As a person who’s undergone many life challenges and approaching my half century,  I feel I have the necessary experience to put forward my perspective on the perfectly imperfect life.

My life has been far from perfect but, in my youth, I sought to right the wrongs that I saw all around me.  I was both naieve and ambitious but highly motivated about the kind of life I wanted. Since I was largely influenced by my peers, books I’d read and TV shows I thought that life had had to have a happy ending.....all the best stories do, don’t they?

I wanted a nice home with a white picket fence and roses around the door. I mentally decorated each and every room. I wanted a beautiful garden and a sun room for lazy Sunday morning reading. More than anything, I wanted a wonderful man to love me and a sprinkling of adorable children. I believed that my heart and intentions were pure so I could attract like to like?

Wrong. That was the start of the dismantling of my dream. I got the home but it took a ton of money to get it into a decent state. Once it was, it took a ton of effort (mostly mine) to maintain it. The man I loved I found didn’t love me as much...simply because we both had different ideas about what love was. When we had children they were all perfect but the world labelled one of them as learning disabled. It certainly was an uphill struggle to maintain this state of perfection!

One day I decided to stop believing that life could be perfect. In fact, I let the facade crumble so that I could expose the bitter truth about perfection. I took off the rose coloured spectacles and took a close hard look at what I had created.
Perfect or not?

Not many people are like me. They’d rather live the lie and I understand that, I did too for many years....the lie of perfection. The goal of perfection is wanting a neat and tidy package. Sadly, it doesn’t exist but it doesn't prevent anyone from wanting to reach for it.

Take the case of a mother who gave birth to a child that was later diagnosed as autistic. She found raising him difficult due to his unpredictable condition. She wanted a child who would grow up “normally”, go to university, get a job, get married and produce some grandchildren.

As she had decided that her son would do none of these things and  was placing a great strain on her marriage which led to an eating disorder, she decided to give him up, at the age of seven, and place him in a home. I sympathise with her moral dilemma and perhaps this child should not be in the care of a person who is bereft of unconditional love. He is considered imperfect, by her standards, which many would judge as poor. Nevertheless she has a right to them.

Then take the case of Anthony Robles, a 24 year old mixed race American , born to a 16 year old white mother and an African father whom he has never known. The other fact about Anthony, that he doesn’t care for the world to take notice of (though it does) is that he was born with one leg. He was bullied through some of his school life but his mother was not over-protective as she believed it was important for him to take some knocks. And taking some knocks and giving them back is what he’s done. 

Through sheer determination and the toughest physical training he became the 2010-11 NCAA individual wrestling champion competing against able-bodied opponents. He refuses to wear a prosthetic limb ( he has no stump to attach it to) and  refuses to be labelled as “disabled”.  

Do you think his mother believed that her son could not grow up “normally”? No, she’s a fighter, and she never gave up on him and his success today is hers too. On TV recently she said,”it’s very humbling to be Anthony’s mother.”I believe her. I have a perfectly imperfect son too and he’s my pride and joy as are my other “normal children”. If I had to choose between a marriage or a child – there’s no contest. Every marriage is not made in heaven but a child, undoubtedly, is.

Heroism is part of divine perfection and it can be found on this imperfect earth. I have chosen to see it and, even in moments of weakness, I know it lives in me and I just have to find a little courage to bring it forth. I know that there's perfection in every imperfection.

I have no regrets about my perfect/imperfect life that doesn’t fit into any mould. I’m kinder and more compassionate with myself and others.  I don’t have to wish for the perfect life because I believe I have achieved it (though no one else will believe me!)



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