December 26, 2020
This week, I was reminded of the old holiday tale about exactly why Christmas Trees aren’t perfect. The gist of it is like this: Christmas trees end up becoming all misshapen and generally imperfect in the giving to others. In giving shelter to deer. In providing nesting material to birds. And so on. The story changes our thinking about perfection and love. If there is a moral to the story, it goes something like this: Just because something is not perfect does not make it any less worthy of love.
And that’s the point for the week.
I’m good with that. No one who walks through the door of this place is or ever will be perfect. Nothing we ever do will ever be judged as perfect. And that’s OK. Because perfection shouldn’t be the goal.
Perfection shouldn’t be goal because it’s an impossible standard. Perfection shouldn’t be the goal because we can’t write down what it looks like. Perfection shouldn’t be the goal because it takes far too long to achieve and is universally regarded as the enemy of progress. But maybe above all, perfection can’t the goal because it is alienating and gets in the way of love.
We live in a world that immediately rejects that which doesn’t meet the standard – for appearance, for hipness, for group-think, for lack of likes or followers, as somehow undeserving of anything but disdain. Forget love, we are being conditioned to not even “like” things that don’t fit the conventional wisdom or popular culture. It’s gotten so bad that we now worry about being cancelled ourselves, if we don’t join the cancel culture in throwing over that which we dislike, disagree with, have a distaste for, are afraid of, or don’t like the looks of.
But that’s not the way that the world should work.
Just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t make it any less worthy of love. Just because something is disagreeable to us doesn’t make it any less worthy of love. Just because someone doesn’t share our views doesn’t make them any less worthy of love. Just because someone believes in a different thing or God than us doesn’t make them any less worthy of love.
One of my rules for life is to simply Love the One You’re Looking At. It doesn’t have strings attached or qualifiers. It doesn’t depend on anything. It’s not conditional. It firmly rejects the notion that anyone is less worthy of love. It’s simple. If you are looking at them, love them.
When it happens, everything in life is better. Here, at home, and in our communities. More gets done. Less time is wasted on crap that doesn’t matter, and in one year won’t even be remembered. Greater bonds of trust are formed. And the force and speed with which things are accomplished begins to multiply each time hate is given over for love. Eventually, with nothing left to divide them, these teams become invincible, unstoppable forces not only for their own good, but for the greater good.
Because they chose to love the imperfect that is all of us. Because they chose to love the one they were looking at.
So abide by Rule #2.
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