As children most of us believed in perfection as an attainable goal. Maybe not our own particular perfection (I was never going to get an A in science!), but the finish line was clearly marked out and someone was going to cross it. We were literally schooled into the quest for perfection: defined as an A+, or 100 percent answered correctly, or the coveted 4.0 at the end of the term.
Exploring the Word
Few of us love the law. In a country that sometimes views government with hostility and authority with suspicion, our reflexive stance toward rules is to shred first, reconsider later. Maybe. Many of us don’t even read the operating instructions on what we buy, though our personal safety may be compromised: Just plug it in, hit the ON button, and hope for the best!
When I moved to the desert some years ago, my mother sent me an appropriate housewarming gift. It’s a little lamp molded at the base into an adobe-style house, with a matching lampshade bearing a pleasing Southwestern pattern. When you turn on the lamp, at first you get what’s expected: a wash of light under the lampshade.
Here’s the good news for those who’ve just had a baby: You get to take home a bundle of love who will be the apple of your eye for years to come. It's like being born again yourself. Wonder will come to live at your house.
We know that we live in a divided nation. Politically we are not all on the same page. Economically, racially, ethnically, and religiously, Americans do not share the same perspective or the same reality. Some live in gated communities, others sleep on subway grates.
First impressions can be deceiving. Think of the people who are in your life today and compare your original perception of them with what you know now. Sometimes our initial “take” on someone is off by a little, and sometimes by a lot.
Mortality being what it is, we are limited by definition. Most of the time we forget this as we bluster off into the thick of our lives, managing Herculean feats like raising children, committing our fidelity for life, accepting the suffering and death of those we love, and living with the ongoing surrender of youthful strength and beauty in exchange for the encroaching pain and disability of old age.
Why are so many of us reluctant to ask for directions? I don’t have a macho bone in my body and yet I hesitate—till I am good and lost—before I’ll stop someone for help. Maybe it’s because we don’t like to appear weak or fallible, though we are surely both.
There’s no intrinsic reason why a new year should be any different from an old one. While we’re conscious of having turned a page on a whole new calendar, New Year's Day is really no more than just another sunrise. Still, we greet each new year with hope for the chance to be born again to new life and possibilities.
I’m not a parent, so I may be stepping out on a limb in discussing what the dreams of a parent look like. But not too long a limb, because I do have six brothers and sisters who are parents, plus I had parents myself who had dreams for me.