I have been thinking a lot lately about the quest for something perfect--for some perfect spiritual experience that convinces you once and for all of God's presence, some perfect lover or friend who will never disappoint, some perfect place from which you will never have to leave. No matter how obvious it may seem that I will never find such things, I am nonetheless surprised lately at how often I am disappointed by NOT finding them. Realizing that the steady, monotonous dust we walk through every day is as much part of God as dazzling shoots of flame in a bush. That people’s awkward words and unintended failures are as much a part of their gift to us as their love. That the potholes and root-invading trees of the place we live are the things we will miss as much as the rivers and blue skies.
I have been reading Walter Brueggemann’s Hope within History (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1987). He talks about the stages of faith experience in communal terms: “the stages are never about interiority and yet are always about interaction in which the person is evoked, assaulted, and impinged upon in formative and transformative ways” (p. 7). A profound thought: that even the times I feel assaulted or impinged upon are as valuable in transforming and forming my faith as those times when I feel loved or at home.
In the end, all I can do is think on the quote from which I titled this blog and realize that while we live within pain and imperfection, the people and words we find are “lovely, and all that we have.” And maybe the truest evidence of grace is that they are enough.