Sunday, April 19, 2015

How I Got Permission To Be Imperfect

I loved my elementary school in North Phoenix. We had a nature center, complete with a peacock and ducks. Often the ducks would have a nest and a large “quiet, ducks are nesting” sign would be posted on the outside of the nature center. It was ingenious because the nature center was in the middle of the school grounds so as all the classes crossed back and forth to PE, Art, lunch, and music they would have extra incentive to keep the noise down. It is easy to convince children of the importance of keeping noise levels down when a duck family is involved. I really remember it as an excellent school. All the teachers I had there were very influential on my life, including the art teacher and librarian.  

I have a very clear memory of one day in particular in the library. We were about to start a clay pinch pot project. The librarian was showing us art from several Native American tribes throughout Arizona. She told us that in their intricate and beautiful weaves and basketry that the Navajo Native American artists would put a mistake in their work. They would do it on purpose! I was shocked! Then she explained that they made the mistake because they knew that only the Creator is perfect so their work had a symbolic mistake in it to represent their beliefs in their Creator.

This was such an interesting and liberating idea to me. Not that we should not try for our best, or that those Navajo artists couldn’t have easily made a perfect weave, but to accept that imperfection is what we are at this point. This 15 minute lesson from the librarian at my elementary school has come to my mind more times than I can count throughout my life.
It brings me comfort when an important project doesn’t turn out as planned. It gives me courage to start something that I don’t know all the steps to or haven’t done before. It helps me now when the “ideal medicine and treatment schedule” isn’t possible to be achieved some days (you know when regular kid nights happen with painful scream inducing ear aches from midnight to five in the morning, I will absolutely turn on Curious George episodes and lay on the couch with the kid who finally took the medicine they needed to stop the pain rather than attempt to start the morning grind after a night like that). This mini lesson from a librarian in the 3rd grade had somehow permanently worked its way into my way of thinking and I had received permission to be imperfect, librarians are superhero’s!

A beautiful article from the July 2014 Ensign Magazine, by Gerrit W. Gong says it better than me.
Understanding the Savior’s freely given atoning love can free us from self-imposed, incorrect, and unrealistic expectations of what perfection is. Such understanding allows us to let go of fears that we are imperfect—fears that we make mistakes, fears that we are not good enough, fears that we are a failure compared to others, fears that we are not doing enough to merit His love.

The Savior’s freely given atoning love helps us become more forgiving and less judgmental of others and of ourselves. This love heals our relationships and gives us opportunities to love, understand, and serve as our Savior would.”

        I am grateful for a librarian who somehow gave me the acceptance of imperfection in the 3rd grade, and especially for the Savior Jesus Christ’s atoning love.
Kamarah, 3rd Grade

1 comment:

  1. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear. :) I think you are imperfectly perfect!