letting go of perfect

This weekend, I was walking through my neighbourhood, and I found 4 perfect pinecones.  I have a thing about perfect pinecones:  I love the serendipity of finding one that hasn't been damaged by a passing vehicle or a careless cyclist or torn apart by voracious squirrels.  I love their mathematical precision and their order.  They're just perfect.

My parents have lived all over the world, and for a time, they lived in Azerbaijan, the former Soviet republic.  While they lived there, they purchased a number of Persian carpets (Azerbaijan borders Iran), which decorate their house now.  I remember the day that my parents moved into their home here in Houston, their rugs were in a pile waiting to be placed in the various rooms they would come to be a part of, and I stood admiring the detail of each one.  My father walked over and said, "You know, the Persian carpetmakers have a tradition:  it can take years to weave the details into these rugs, but they always make one intentional mistake as they work.  The reason is they believe only Allah is perfect, and therefore only Allah has the right to create perfectly."

I think that's such a freeing concept:  imagine if we all strove our very best, weaving beautiful lives, but cutting ourselves slack when they weren't perfect.  What if it was downright heretical to expect perfection out of ourselves?  What if we believed that perfection was the purview of gods, not humans?  How much more simple, human beauty would we feel free to create?

There's a saying that "perfection is the enemy of good," but I also think it's the enemy of joy.

And I'm going to keep these perfect pinecones nearby as a reminder.


Soundtrack:  Change the world by Babyface (featuring Eric Clapton)