"Show me an angel, and I'll paint one"--Thomas Hart Benton
I think that people ponder their own imperfectibility persistently. I'm always intrigued by this, because so many people whom I tremendously admire were or are such marvellously imperfect people.
I think that what puzzles one the most about fallibility is the sheer tenth grade English literature class illusion-v.-reality-ness of it all. One imagines such shimmering beauty. Then one creates such drab gaucherie. When Plato invented those forms, he should have broken the mold.
It's so easy to trivialize oneself in the cycle of one's own faults. Perhaps this, rather than something cool and wild and free, is the flaming wheel in the Yeats poem, or some cycle of birth and rebirth fron which one can never escape to satori.
I'm puzzled by this idea of bliss in any event. I am one of the "contented ones" more often than I am one of the "discontented ones". But is bliss virtue or complacency? I think sometimes that bliss can be anesthetic rather than salvation.
We so often hear the phrase "follow your heart". A popular author wrote a charming book some years ago--"do what you want, and the money will follow". But what about that part of one's "heart" that we call "mind"? What about "common sense"?
Common sense sometimes leads one, of course, to do particularly uncommonly brave or foolhardy things. Common sense sometimes causes one to put aside comfort,and try to do something small that matters. I don't mean the "common sense" that is a clever disguise for timidity. I mean the common sense at the top of Maslow's pyramid, in which one sacrifices everything, because it is only common sense that people deserve it.
Sometimes we have to accept that in our day to day, we may not do things that make much sense to ourselves. I think that the acceptance of grace is to try anyway. I think that the transmission of grace is to care anyway.
Sometimes it's like driving down a desert freeway, where miles ahead, a large sign looms. For miles on, you can see it coming, but you can't make out what the sign says. But you drive on anyway, because you want to know where you are, and you need to be close enough to read the sign. There's no point in cursing your eyesight--you just need to keep driving.
I've never met a saint or a sinless person. I've noticed that many people who bewail their shortcomings the loudest can also be capable of the greatest kindness. I don't mind this asynchrony--I instead count upon it.
But it's a matter of surviving the day to day. It's a matter of not losing hope. It's a matter of seeing that one can love, and live, and do, even when it's all so imperfect. Sometimes it's a matter of embracing the mystery, and recognizing we all live within it.