Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Imperfect Plan: Dairy Queen, The Debt Ceiling and The Gettysburg Address.

In a world where we now sweeten our morning coffee with an instantaneous flood of adoration - or lack thereof – where we can wake up as a rock star and by the time we finish our banana nut muffin, be shifted to the status of broken down has-been - it seems more important now, than ever before, to not only to embrace our imperfections....

… but to, perhaps, hope for them.

It’s like this… if you searched for the definition of the word “perfect” you would find a number of meanings - Ideal. Unspoiled. Flawless, etc. And, you would also find what I believe is the meaning of perfection in its very purest form: finished.  So a meal can be perfect. A cartwheel can be perfect. A haircut, can even be perfect. But a person – a living person – by definition, is not finished. Not perfect. And yet we hold so tightly to the perceptions of perfection – as if hoping, one day, to be frozen solid, in full bloom.

But wait - if a sunflower is frozen at the moment of full bloom…the moment of perfection, it can mean only one thing. It’s finished, right? Never to bloom again.

Crap. Now what?

There is no better example of an imperfect journey to greatness than the road taken by Abraham Lincoln. And even as he touched his final destination, his ideal place, he kept growing, learning - not from his accomplishments -- but from his flaws - time after time, after time.

In the middle of the American Civil War, he didn’t stand up and say, “This is going great. Carry on.” No. In approximately 2 minutes and 242 words, he said, more or less, we’re way off track here. And in doing so, he presented the entire country with an opportunity to fight for something much greater than soil. It was, in fact, a second chance to truly establish a way of life where all men are created equal.”

Abraham Lincoln saw imperfection as a rebirth of freedom. And in that moment he gave meaning to a seemingly meaningless loss and disregard for human life.

…which, of course, brings me to the debt ceiling debacle.

Ok, who didn’t perk up a little at the debt ceiling count down. I’m not going to get overly political here, I will just say this – It may have taken an entire decade of erroneous decisions to shake the headboard, but, we’re finally awake. Not sure if anyone who watched it didn’t get out of bed yesterday, rolling up their sleeves. (I bet even the poor, poor billionaires are perched on the edges of their Malibu beach chairs. Oh, be right back I have to vomit. Oops, sorry, did I say that?)

But think about it. If  President Obama had addressed the nation and said “We’re doing just great. It’s all good, we got this,” - then we’d all tune out and hit the road for hot fudge sundaes. Nope, he said, more or less…we’re pretty screwed. So what do we do? We focus. We say – enough. Now we stop taking a single day, or dollar, for granted. Now we are inspired to check in on our neighbors; reclaim our lives; our future. Now we understand the power of our own voice, and we never silence it again. Now, we know…we have unfinished business. And now we have no choice but to connect with our greatest intelligence...

…. and not just the drive-thru lady at Dairy Queen.

So remember...the next time you want to climb to the mountain top and scream “Look at me, I’m perfect. “ All you are really saying to the world is: I’m finished. So don’t hope for perfection, hope for a really juicy flaw. This is when you will defrost the petals and see that, the sunflower has not died, it is not finished… it is simply melting back into the earth; so it may plant itself and bloom once more.