What is God’s Idea of Perfection?
What would most people regard as a perfect day?
To wake up, feeling strong and vital, with no pain or discomfort, to enjoy a sparkling day of temperatures in the 80’s and the scent of flowers wafting on the soft breeze.
To see reflected in the mirror an attractive and healthy person, a person popular and accomplishment, full of courage and boundless energy.
To drive to work hitting only green lights, where everyone obeys traffic laws, and drives thoughtfully, and finding rock star parking right outside the door of your workplace.
To be greeted cheerfully, acknowledged enthusiastically, and watch everyone’s faces brighten with your presence.
To have your “how are you today” questions answered with heartfelt, “wonderful,” “everything is great,” and “I feel fine, really fine.”
To turn on the news and hear how peace, prosperity, and goodness are on the rise, unperturbed by war and strife, poverty and bondage. To get a raise, watch your savings grow, and know that you are financially secure.
To eat delicious and healthy food for lunch, and after a day of exciting and fulfilling work, have the energy to exercise before you go home.
To return home at the end of the day to your beautiful home where everything is neat and orderly, and every toy, tool, and mode of transportation you could ever want is stowed away tidily and in good working condition.
To enter a home where you have a loving spouse to greet you and embrace, and whisper words of love.
To have a home where love abounds, and conflict, dysfunction, and disorder never interrupt your perfect family life.
To sit at a family table where everyone talks about their own perfect day, where troubles, temptations, and temperaments are all under the control of the members of your well-disciplined, self-sufficient, and amazingly bright and healthy family.
To crawl into a soft, warm bed, to be held tenderly by your sweetheart, to feel loved and wanted.
To know that after a perfect night of rest where your dreams are optimistic and filled with thrilling prospects, you will wake up, again, to another perfect day.
What would God regard as your perfect day?
To wake up, whether it be on a straw mat, in a fox hole, on a thin cot, or in a hospital bed, and know that you can bear your poverty, your fears, your infirmities and your pains, with the help of a loving God.
To look out upon the world, a paradise, a suburban lawn, a desiccated desert, or a street piled with garbage and wet with sewage, and to glean from your senses an impression of the beauty of God’s creation, whether in the face of a child, or the song of a bird, or the scent of a flower, or the warmth of the sun that bathes the earth in its light.
To kneel on your straw mat, crawl out of your fox hole, roll off your cot, or lay immobile in your hospital bed, and consecrate the day with a prayer of thanksgiving.
To wash your face clean from dirt, tears, or weariness, and call upon God to take up your load because you must face another day of toil and hardship, and know that there are still so many around you who have less and need so much more than you, and you are the only person God has given them who seems to notice or care.
To see reflected in a muddy puddle, a dingy window pane, or a gilded mirror, a Child of God, burdened under the conditions of mortality, imperfect, uncertain, but ready, nevertheless to face the insults and disappointments of life with the reassurance that you are of infinite worth, and eternally loved by your Creator, and make of yourself a buttress against the insults and hurts of the world for another who cannot stem the flow for himself.
To feel the aches of age, the grinding pain of disease, the heartbreak of loss, or the heaviness of adversity that persists despite your best efforts. And because you believe that God will keep His promises to you, to commit to live another day, hope another day, strive another day, and bear your suffering and comfort the suffering of another yet another day.
To get into your car, your little boat, your cart, or walk upon cracked and burning feet, and go about your day’s work, giving the fool who cuts you off in traffic some room on the road instead of a curse, waiting patiently at every red light, every queue, every food line, unemployment line, sharing the light in your eyes with those whose lights have dimmed, and whose hopes are at an end.
To smile and speak kindly to those whose burdens cause them to lash out and unload on their neighbors. To reach out with an encouraging word to the angry ones, the lonely ones, and the ones who have chosen a path of fear and hate.
To carry you responsibilities of living, to work among the muddy rows, a farm field, a battlefield, a professional field, or walk a path into the valley of death, and do the best to live your life for the One who owns your life.
To know the persistent ache of love unanswered, hunger unfilled, needs unmet, and dreams unrealized, and the loneliness of abandonment and the dark days of injustice that leave you with nothing but a voucher for one call, and that call is to God.
To finish your day looking for another way to keep your hands busy because your heart is empty and the home you will return to is a lonely place, a cold place, with dirt floors, wood slats, or marble halls, and there are no smiles to greet you, no arms to hold you, no one except the Son to love you.
To work until your hands bleed, or you need a drink or a pill, or to scream or cry, to escape, because your shoulders bear too much, too many hopes, too many lives, too many needs, and you can barely get through the day, and yet you know that many, hundreds, thousands, depend on you, but to remember to come unto Him, and find rest, and take His yoke upon you.
To sit down to a banquet, or a wooden bowl, to a feast, or a morsel, and bless your meal with a prayer from your lips to God, before your supper reaches your lips and fills, or hardly fills, your stomach, and to share your abundance or your widow’s mite with the one who cannot fend for himself, or is too weak, or despairing to seek for his own.
To go to your room, a dark hovel, a lighted chamber, a mound of straw, or a cold cell, and kneel upon your knees, or sit if you have no legs, or lie if you cannot stand, or fall upon your face, and reconcile your debt with the One who gave you a hovel, or chamber, or prison walls, and who holds the keys to them all.
To pray at end the day as the sun sets beneath steaming streets where children crouch in filth, or shining cityscapes where every bright window betrays its own tragedy, a desert waste where a fragile fire warms tired pilgrims, or a limitless ocean where life teems and death anchors the dreamer to his limitations, and remember that the day was a gift and to thank the God that endowed you with it, and ask if you did enough to immortalize its short hours in the hearts of those who needed to see God in the face of a friend.
To rest your head on a downy pillow, a helmet, a rock, or the ground, with your tired body, broken body, malformed body, aching body screaming for relief from your labors and your sorrows, and close your eyes with an abiding peace in your heart, knowing that your perfect day was not spent in the absolution of peace, beauty, satisfaction, or blessed companionship, the fantastical conditions where opposition and failure and mortality fall away, but in the perfect radiance of every intersection where imperfect people come to know about the Love of God.
To know that God’s Heaven is not people with those whose lives were lived in perfect ease, or perfected bodies, or perfection of circumstance, but rather those who spent their lives following the perfect Light of the Son.
by Marjorie Haun 9/16/13
LITTLE BIRD DOG AND THE BIG SHIP