Sunday 13 May 2012

What My Imperfect Mother Taught Me About Perfection

Chalice Lighting

We light this candle as a symbol of our faith.
By its light may our vision be illumined;
By its warmth may our fellowship be encouraged;
And by its flame may our yearnings for peace, justice and the life of the spirit be enkindled.


Reading: Mothers That Inspire

Lesson: What my Imperfect Mother Taught Me About Perfection

“The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good” What does this mean? Perfect is the enemy of good is an aphorism or proverb which is commonly attributed to Voltaire whose moral poem, La Bégueule, starts[1]

Dans ses écrits, un sàge Italien
Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

(In his writings, a wise Italian
says that the best is the enemy of the good)

The moral is that perfectionism is contrary to a satisfactory competence. Aristotle, Confucius and other classical philosophers propounded the principle of the golden mean which counsels against extremism in general.[2] The Pareto principle or 80-20 rule explains this numerically. For example, it commonly takes 20% of the full time to complete 80% of a task while the last 20% takes 80% of the effort.[3] Achieving absolute perfection may be impossible and so, as increasing effort results in diminishing returns, further activity becomes increasingly inefficient. (Wikipedia)

Today I want to share with you some of the lessons I learned from my own mom, who was less than perfect, as we all are. In fact, she was downright dysfunctional. Her flaws and antics could have scarred me for life. But instead she raised a confident, thoughtful, caring, joyful person who is only somewhat dysfunctional (but who isn’t somewhat dysfunctional?). Her love for me was greater than that she had for herself. Out of her pain, somehow she managed to confer upon me the peace she could not feel. I am the Pheonix, arising from the ashes of my mother’s life.

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