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Wabi Sabi

Who knew that such party favor words could have such deep meaning and could stir my soul to write. I was pretty tickled when I came upon Wabi Sabi (wah-bee sah-bee, I believe). So much fun to say and worth a whole blog. According to the great one, Google, Wabi Sabi is from a Japanese philosophy meaning "To Celebrate Imperfectionism." "Wabi" means, less is more. "Sabi" is an awareness of the transient nature of earthly things, and the corresponding pleasure in those impermanent things. Put together, Wabi Sabi means this: Celebrating imperfection, your imperfection, and your differentness, will make you stand out and shine. The philosophy shortens it even more into a single concept of "Valuing and Gratitude." We can look for perfection in nature, where nothing ever lasts, nothing is ever finished, and nothing is ever perfect, but today I am concentrating on people.

Let's look at perfection in humanity. In case you were not aware all of us are imperfect. NEWS FLASH! Everyone is imperfect, except God. Throughout history, disturbed dictators have strived to become gods. Perhaps they believed that being a god would somehow make them perfect. History has always proved them wrong in disastrous ways. We all desire to run the perfect race using our imperfect power and to be perfect in life and in the sight of others. However: "For everyone has missed the mark of perfection and has fallen short of God's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23, NT Bible)

Bad News: None of us can achieve perfection on this earth. Good News: None of us are called to be perfect on this earth. We are called to be better. Athletes are not called to be superheroes, or at least they should not be. Athletes are called to be stronger, faster, and better than the rest. If perfection, whatever that is to an athlete, was to be achieved, the game would cease to be exciting, and fans would stop tuning in. Why bother? The only place to go from there would be back to imperfection.

Those on the stage of life who appear to be perfect, to have perfect lives, are simply fooling the world, and, sometimes, they are fooling themselves. Perfection is a theory, the proof of which no one ever discovers...ever! The most perfect diamond will have a tiny flaw deep within. We are all jewels, and all jewels have imperfections. All have differences. Just because you are not a perfectly rounded pearl does not mean you don't shine a luminescent light show of colors that bring shame to a rainbow in the sky. If others see imperfection in you, it doesn't mean they don't love you, care about you, or appreciate you. If they don't see beauty in you it only means they have imperfect sight and cannot see the beauty set before them. Spouses, parents, children, and friends are all imperfect, and yet, we love them. Should we not, then, be at peace with ourselves in our imperfections? Wabi Sabi!

Demanding perfection from a child does nothing but frustrate the child and the parent and, often, breaks the connection between the two. A good parent wants their child to be stronger, faster, and better and does not demand impossible perfection. Wabi Sabi!

Are you friends only with those who are perfect and who have no problems? I am betting you have very few friends. The very heart of friendship calls for us to be there when the lives of our friends are messy and imperfect. We can cheer them on as they work to be stronger, faster, and better. And we can smile at their quirks and differences and love them as they are. Wabi Sabi!

So, if I accept others despite their imperfection, shouldn't I also be at peace with myself? Of course, I should work at making myself stronger, faster, and better, but that is very hard for me to do when I am busy disregarding my contributions to my tiny slice of the world just because I am imperfect. NEWS FLASH redux! Everyone is imperfect, except God. And yet God loves us, imperfections and all. Who am I to claim that a perfect God is wrong to choose to love me? I'm sure not going to tell Him He is wrong.

I've got to confess to you. The older I get, the greater the chasm between me and perfection. I am not as fast and I am not as strong. And that is okay because I can still work at being better. With age comes the wisdom to understand that I am just right for me. I no longer allow the world a stranglehold on me with its idea of perfection, and that is a great relief. It is freeing to let go and let God lead me in the path of my unique journey.

We are all snowflakes. We arrive on Planet Earth as different from every other snowflake (scientific fact). No one snowflake is better than another snowflake. No one snowflake is the ideal snowflake, claiming to be perfect. Each of us can glisten through each one's personal journey.

Wabi Sabi!

small child wearing lion costume.
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