Susie was in Zambia last week and did great work with the people of Linda compound. One moment that stuck in her mind was when our friend Marie-Rose said, “I am not perfect, you are not perfect and when we get together it is not perfect.” It is such a freeing statement and helps us all.
Naturally we all wanted our parents to be perfect and it came as a great shock when we finally discovered that they were not. Actually, most of us still carry a myriad of grievances against them because they were far from perfect. But for the most part, we are projecting our own lack of perfection onto them and then we carry that process into all our relationships, expecting our partners to behave perfectly.
So why worry about working on our relationships if there is no chance of even approaching perfection? Relationships are about something much higher than being perfect; they are about learning tolerance and compassion and these qualities will continuously be tested. There was a good example yesterday when the Chilcot report on the Iraq war was published and our ex-prime minister was questioned on his behaviour leading up to that war. After all the hundreds of thousands of deaths, starving mutilated children, millions of refugees and destablised countries, he said with a straight face that he would do it all again.
What, in his mind, could possibly have been worse that what has happened in the Middle East? Healing such dark places in our minds must be our priority rather than hiding them away with denial and pursuing perfection. We do that by coming together as equals and learning better ways of communicating, of working together in our pursuit of happiness.
A Course of Miracles talks again and again of our need to learn forgiveness. How could we learn the lessons of forgiveness and compassion if perfection were ever possible? To put it the other way, if we truly learnt the lessons of forgiveness and tolerance, then we would not see any imperfection!