A Limit to Perfection
“I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.” – Psalm 119: 96
I sit down at the computer and begin by typing the date. I always do this because I read somewhere that you should write what you know. The date says that it is exactly one month since my dad’s birthday. I remember I never did send him that present. It’s probably buried under the pile of boxes I keep the Christmas decorations in, so I go to find it. Since I’m getting the boxes out anyway, I might as well put the ornaments away. I begin, my January-self arguing with my December-self’s flagrant inability to limit her decorating. I am more or less in the middle (which is to say wrapping the 673rd ornament) when my friend calls to ask me what I meant when I said that thing. It takes a while to explain, and even then I’m not sure I’m any clearer. But I am sure that I’m hungry, so I head into the kitchen for lunch. I’m greeted by a couple meals worth of dishes, so I wash a few. When I get to the cutting board, I remember that I still need to chop the veggies for tonight’s soup. The dog, who loves carrots, hangs around hoping for a nibble and I think how long it’s been since he’s had a really good romp outdoors. It isn’t raining for once, so I set off to find his leash. As we leave the house, the school bus pulls up, reminding me of the science fair project due tomorrow. My son and I spend the rest of the afternoon bathing in tears and Elmer’s glue. My husband arrives home from work around dinnertime and surveys the half-packed boxes, the half-chopped vegetables, the half-empty glue bottle and the wholly unexercised dog, who’s chewing on the corner of the couch. Then he asks me if I can drop something at the post office tomorrow. “Sure,” I say, “I’ll put Dad’s present in the mail at the same time. I just have to find it.”
Holy Perfect One, I have seen the limit to all perfection more times than I can really count today. Remind me again tomorrow of the exceeding broadness of your command. Amen.
Jennifer Brownell is an ordained UCC minister and the author of Swim, Ride, Run, Breathe: How I Lost a Triathlon and Caught My Breath, her inspiring memoir.