” Wholeness does not mean perfection.”

Here’s a quote worth thinking about from Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life (Jossey-Bass, 2004)

“Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness – mine, yours, ours – need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.”

There’s no denying brokenness. I admit that detecting devastation comes more rapidly to me than envisioning seeds of new life. While I don’t particularly tolerate it–brokenness–well in myself, I have developed an appreciation for its role.

In fact, denying brokenness by reaching into the bag for seeds of new life before the soil of devastation has warmed, may interrupt its very important work in us. Premature “hope,” indiscriminately scattered, may never germinate. 

I know. I hear some of you resisting all the way from here!

But Pollyannan platitudes in the face of brutal realities are not the same as hope. While brushing past the truth of what is and rushing to what we hope will be may seem to serve us in the short-term, like a banana peel left in a hot car, the effects of our brokenness must eventually be faced. Besides, mindless optimism (which isn’t really optimism at all…just mindless) makes me want to slap someone.

The hope that helps is knowing the Master Gardener is on it. Mary’s mistaking the risen Christ at the tomb may be richer with metaphor than I have heretofore considered. (Is that all one word…heretofore?)

So at the risk of getting slapped, what broken thing in your life might also be a seedbed for new life?

Go ahead.
Don’t wait for perfection.


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