Yesterday's blog sent me searching for a book I had read some years ago titled, How Good Do We have to Be?
by Harold S. Kushner, also the author of best-selling When Bad Things Happen to Good People...another favorite.
In it Kushner shares, in discussing forgiveness of ourselves when we are concerned that we haven't been perfect as caregivers, ministers, therapists, parents:
"Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, a California physician, describes how master psychologist Carl Rogers would approach a therapeutic encounter: 'There is something I do before I start a session. I let myself know that I am enough. Not perfect. Perfect wouldn't be enough. But that I am human, and that is enough. There is nothing this man can say or do or feel that I can't feel in myself. I can be with him. I am enough.'
Dr. Remen adds, 'I was stunned by this. It felt as if some old wound in me, some fear of not being good enough, had come to an end. I knew inside myself that what he said was absolutely true. I am not perfect, but I am enough. Knowing that allows healing to happen.' "
Hmmmm....I have been thinking to myself for years. If God made me perfect...how can "enough" and "not perfect" be true and right.
I have held Perfection as my model for so long..."perfect God and perfect man", as Mary Baker Eddy states in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "as the basis of thought and demonstration". How do I reconcile these two "healing" approaches to caring for the needs of humanity without feeling conflict.
My hunger for this feeling of "being enough" and yet working out from the standpoint of "perfection" led me to a very responsible friend...the dictionary...
So often, I think, we are hamstrung by "language"....we say the same words and think we are agreeing on the definitions that we attach to those words. I have found that a clarification of language issues, or even a new perspective on the meaning of words can often build bridges for me when I feel like two points of view are very divergent. This was the case for me in thinking about the definition of the word "perfect". One dictionary that I have often gone to, when I am looking for this kind of bridging, has given me a definition of "perfect" that serves as a building block for this bridge when it said "complete, wanting nothing". Ahh. When I think of being "enough"...I can consider that it might mean having enough compassion, understanding, gentleness, wisdom...for that very moment. I may not be "accessing", at that moment, the Allness of the divine, but I will be anointed with all that I need to meet the friend, family member, patient's need for my humanness...my kindness, care, understanding and compassion.
I will be enough in that moment because I trust that the Divine has sent both of us into eachother's lives to reveal more of our "perfection" within the context of that moment of concrescence...of coming together for a wholly divine purpose.
Mary Baker Eddy also gives me some clues on how I might view this when she says, "As a drop of water in one with the ocean...so God and man...are one in being." What is consistently the same between a drop of water and an ocean of water is the elemental balance. H2O...not H3O or HO2....but always H2O. One drop, or a bazillion drops, H2O....if it changes...it's not water. But a drop of water can have different uses, or offices, because of what it is needed to do and be in a moment of need. The same drop of H2O to a flower can be food, and to a child's dirty hands can be cleansing and to a fish can be breathable, and to the thirsty it can quench that thirst. The same completeness... different offices... and in each office or demand...it is enough for that moment's need.
So are we...each of us completely whole, imbued with all of the character and qualities of the Divine, but we don't have to worry about needing to BE the divine allness for another....we just need to know that from the depths of that completeness we will be enough in the moment of need.
And so I can forgive...myself...and trust that I will be enough of perfection (complete, wanting nothing) every moment....
And this is enough for today's blog.