Perfectly Imperfect

In Navajo culture, rug weavers would leave little imperfections along the borders of the rugs they create in the shape of a line called ch'ihónít'i, which is translated into English as "spirit line" or "spirit pathway."

The idea is that these openings create space for Spirit to flow in and out of what has been created.  It is also a reminder that there is beauty in imperfection and that it is often through the broken places of our lives that we learn more about who we really are... and who God is to us.  

But there's something else that occurs to me as well... 

The notion of Spirit flowing in and out through the imperfections and broken places also speaks to the possibility of the newness of life, growth, and transformation---the kind that can only occur because there was space for it to do so. 

Space that was created because of imperfections... brokenness...  

It's challenging to experience the kind of growth that comes through brokenness---painful even.  It can be disruptive, and awful when you're going through it.  

But if we accept that new life can't happen unless there is pain, and if we are willing to surrender and trust that there is new life on the other side of it... We may very well discover a very important truth about ourselves.  

Let me explain... I'll need to start with this poem from Rainer Maria Rilke: 

Were it possible, we might look beyond the reach our knowing… 
Then perhaps we would endure our griefs with even greater trust than our joys.  
For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, 
Something unfamiliar… 
Everything within us steps back, a silence ensures, and something new… 
Stands in the center and is silent.  

I can't tell you how much I love the imagery of this.  

Rilke's words conjure up a vision for me of a group of familiar friends gathered together, laughing, smiling, doing the things they always do when they are together.  They fall into regular rhythms.  There's a habit in the lilt in their conversation.  

And then a stranger enters the room.  

The conversation trails off.  The individuals step back inadvertently, staring, transfixed by the stranger's presence, trying to make sense of what to do next.  This is the moment before the moment when someone speaks to break the silence, but the silence weighs heavily on all of them.  

Because they know that whatever happens after the silence is going to be different than anything they've experienced before.  

Here's the thing that we get to learn about ourselves in all of this:  We have a choice about what happens next.  

We have a choice to make when the new thing enters into the room and disrupts everything else.  We have a choice to be open to what it has to teach us, or whether we want to ignore it, shove it aside or chase it into a corner and try to forget it's there. 

And there's a broken place, an imperfection that marks the place where that disruptive thing forced its way in.  Maybe it was grief, or fear, or doubt.  Maybe it was trauma or tragedy.  Maybe it was the dread that came with a worldwide pandemic... 

The good news is that even though the disruptive thing is standing there unannounced, the imperfection that where it came in, let something else in, too... The generative, life-giving Spirit of God.    
I say it's good news, but it's more than that.  It's the good news... 

It's the good news that there is a new world being born all around us, in us and through us---a new and beautiful world that might now beyond the "reach of our knowing," but that one day we'll see in the fullness of its glory.  

May this give you hope today and every day forward and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen. 


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