Friday, January 11, 2013

How Long Did Jesus Have to Wait for Couscous?

Imagine the scene. Jesus has had a long day preaching the Word of God and curing the sick in the hot sun. The Lord is dusty, tired, and completely famished. Fortunately,  He's been invited for dinner at Martha's house, where he can rest and take nourishment. He's looking forward to it.

"Just a minute, Lord. I'm not happy with the consistency of the last batch of couscous. I've thrown out the pot and I'm starting over."

"No need, Martha. I'm sure it's fine." (Big eye roll. Besides being fully God, He was fully man.)

"Too late. Oh, and I need some parsley so I can plate it perfectly. There's some in the next valley. I'll be back in a couple of hours. Just hang in there. There's a few grapes on the table you can munch on if you're hungry."

Jesus might have been tempted to perform a lesser known miracle--the multiplication of the grapes and the changing of last night's bread crusts into a full meal.

Perfectionism is a burden, not just to those of us who labor under the delusion that we'll actually attain it but to the loved ones we subject to our unhealthy preoccupation. How often have we turned a simple task into a complex project worthy of NASA? How much more could we accomplish if we did a decent job and moved on to the next task?

Here's a perfect example. (No humor intended.) The hubby wanted a soft case for his iPhone so he could toss it in his backpack and not worry about scratches. After selecting a fabric, I decided bias tape would make the edges perfect. This is a product I haven't used since high school. I would hand-sew this baby, because hand-sewn looks nicer. And I'd use embroidery floss for extra strength.

The embroidery needle kept sticking in the fabric. It was difficult to catch both sides of the tape along the edges of the quilted fabric. Hubby kept asking, "Will it be done by Friday???"  I finally ditched the tape, pulled out my sewing machine, and whipped the case together. I couldn't have gotten good money for the results, but Hubby was delighted. It took 10 minutes to make two.

I'm not encouraging anyone to do a half-baked job, but there's a distinct difference between "I couldn't care less" and "Will I get a prize for the results?" The latter approach holds us back and annoys those nearest and dearest.

Here are some perfection-challenged situations I regularly run into:

* Late fees from bills because I want to get the perfect system in place for paying bills on time.  (Yes. I see the irony.)
* Last minute fast-food dinners because I couldn't come up with a new, exciting recipe using the ingredients on hand.
* Empty blog-free stretches because I have to A. Work out the perfect schedule B. Get it into a shiny new calendar, which I will lose because I have too many calendars C. Come up with a topic no one's ever conceived  let alone attempted to write about.

And you can see how my inaction carries over to loved ones. Late fees cost the entire family money. Hubby is subjected to those bad dinners. People who might enjoy the blogs get cricket chirps instead.

Do you have a problem with perfection? Is there something you've been meaning to do but you're afraid the results won't meet Martha Stewart standards?  Ask Jesus to help you let go of your expectations. Take a shot at just getting it done. How do you feel? Relief? Like you've won an all expense paid vacation to Normal Land?

And if you're still super worried about offering Jesus anything but perfection, consider this story. A man wanted to offer a king a gift, but all he had was a skimpy bunch of grapes. He gave them to the king's mother, and she arranged them on a beautiful gold plate and presented them to her son. The grapes looked good on the plate. They came to the king from the hand of the mother he loved. The skimpy grapes became an awfully nice gift.

We can offer our gifts to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She makes everything perfect. She can't help it. It's a side effect of being the new Arc of the Covenant.

So, what are you going to get off your to-do list today by simply getting it done?

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