Perfection

perfectionI have a strange storehouse of trivia in my head. Some of it I know to be true and some I’m not so sure about. But I believe this is true: if the ancient Persians created anything like a vase or a piece of jewelry, they always included a flaw in the design in order to keep the gods happy. Because apparently their gods did not want anything man-made to be perfect – to compete with the work of the gods. I could google this to be sure, but it’s a story I like, so I’ll just keep believing it.

I have to say I agree with the gods – nothing man-made should be perfect. My reasons have nothing to do with religion. I just find perfection to be, well, boring. Haven’t you ever walked into a house that was perfectly clean, where everything was in its exact place and felt it to be cold and sterile. Have you ever seen a movie or read a book where everything came together, every question answered, every mystery solved and thought to yourself “Ho Hum.” If someone were to make a patchwork quilt and sewed everything together with a machine, so that every stitch was even and every line was perfectly spaced, it would have no charm whatsoever.

I really don’t mind seeing the little imperfections in things. A brush hair left behind on a painting tickles me. Moreover, I see the flaws in the people around me and somehow it makes me love them more. And when I see them in myself they keep me grounded and remind me to be humble.

I know there are some insanely type A personalities out there who would strongly disagree with me. They struggle to have a perfect home, a perfect marriage, perfect children. In my mind they are setting themselves up for failure, disappointment, and frustration, not just for themselves but for everyone around them. Even worse, suppose they were somehow successful in making everything perfect – how boring their lives would be. I’d kill myself. I especially wouldn’t want a mate who was “perfect”… imagine no bickering, no challenges….just complete matrimonial harmony. It makes me want to vomit just thinking about it.

I’m not saying that I don’t try to make my art as fine and well finished as I can. In fact I work very hard at it, but a little flaw here and there makes a painting “human” which pleases the gods. At least that is what I choose to believe.

And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for excellence in your life, just don’t work so hard trying make everything in your life the way you think it should be, that you overlook the beauty in the way that it is. I learned this from painting.

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