Joan Chittister: The Blessing of Not Being Perfect

“This is the very perfection of a person, to find out our own imperfections.” –Saint Augustine

Humanity is a mixture of blunders. That’s what makes it so charming, so interesting to be around. Because none of us is complete, we all need one another. It’s only when we convince ourselves that we are the fullness of all that is, that we become spiritually poor.

The nice thing about being human is that you get to fail a lot. Value that; it’s priceless. It gives us such respect for everybody else. The reason clowns and slapstick comedians are so popular is that, if truth were known, we all see in them the parts of ourselves we try too hard to hide. When we take ourselves too seriously, we forget that the only thing we know for sure that’s eternal is God.

Making mistakes is part of the growth process. We must learn to be much gentler about this with other people. We must also learn to be gentler with ourselves. Otherwise what we expect of ourselves, we will expect of everybody else. And that can be tragic. For all of us.

Never be afraid to admit that you “don’t know” or “can’t find” or “couldn’t do” something. Our imperfections and inabilities are the only thing we have that give us the right to the support of the rest of the human race.

The gift of knowing what we lack is the gift we have to give to the abilities of others. As the Irish proverb says, “it is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”–Joan Chittister, OSB

From Aspects of the Heart by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications).

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