Waiting for Perfection
When is it time to start? When is it time to transition or change? When is it time to get to work?
The answer, of course, is Right Now.
We have this habit of wishing or willing things to be perfect before we take the next step. The stars must align before we can march toward success. The storm must pass before we begin new work. The sting of injury, failure, and setbacks must subside before we grab our proverbial ruck sacks and begin the next phase of our journey.
The only thing is that Perfect Timing is not actually a reality. Perfect Timing is an illusion, a matter of the heart and of perception. It’s a changing tide and an elusive phantom.
In order to live full lives of joy and adventure, we have to move beyond this idea of waiting for the right moment. Right now is the “right moment.”
Agility in life’s goals is paramount to deep, soulful joy. I’m not talking about happiness. I am taking about joy. Joy is deep and is ever-present even in times of sorrow. Joy is the peace associated to a life well lived. Happiness is fleeting and requires a certain perfection, which is equally fleeting.
Living in the Right Now means we are no longer waiting to begin our work. We begin in times of sorrow, times of unrest, times of uncertainty, times of triumph, and times of change. If you look at all the biggest bad-ass players in history, their work did not begin “when everything was just right.” Their work began when it was time to begin which, most of the time, was when everything was upside down.
As we consider an attempt to accomplish something great during less-than-ideal circumstances, it helps to envision ourselves as precious metals. Pure gold is not precious at all until it has been refined in a heat so intense as to burn off all impurities. Heat and chemicals are used to bring every impurity to the surface where these impurities can be extracted, leaving the purest gold or silver. Without the refiner’s fire and process, there is no beauty.
Our lives are the precious gems. We are gold. We are the pottery which must be broken down and reshaped into something beautiful. If we look at life through this lens, we see setbacks and adversity as the required process by which we become beautiful. We work through this process of intense heat, extraction of impurities, reshaping and molding, and we know that we come through it as art. .
As we experience this bizarre world of COVID-19, we are most definitely experiencing an intense refinement season. It’s not going to be “perfect” for a long time. But this is our chance to be gold.
Musonius Rufus said, “Indeed, how could exile be an obstacle to a person’s own cultivation, or to attaining virtue when no one has ever been cut off from learning or practicing what is needed by exile?”
In a way, we are all in exile. What Rufus is saying here is that exile is irrelevant. It’s a situation, but it’s not the ending scene or final judgement. We work in and through the situation. Exile is not the time to give up. It’s not the time to “wait and see.” This is THE TIME to get refined and shaped.
It’s the time to put our gloves on and enter the ring.
Change the lens. Beauty comes from painful refinement. In this exile, we have opportunities to get it right, to do our work, to change our lives. This is the perfect time.
As we begin homeschooling our children, canceling fall and winter vacations, settling in to a new “normal” which has no end in sight, this is the time to embrace and get creative. It’s the time to set the goals and begin to climb.
The summit is there, way up high and out of sight, above the storms and setbacks.
Envision the summit. Envision the gems and the pottery. Envision the historical world changers. And get to work.