Grace. Filling the gap’¦

Grace fills the gap between our aspirations for perfection and reality.

Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game and was described as “a superior athlete was on top of his game.”

Most of us aren’t superior and usually don’t operate at the top of our game anyway. War planners underestimate the enemy and soldiers die; a climber takes a high-risk route and loses his life; a woman nearly destroys a three million dollar Stradivarius cello by turning it into a CD rack.

What to do with our imperfections? Journalists sometimes reveal them, like Seymour Hersch who is helping us come to grips with prisoner abuse in Iraq. Some people make us laugh at our foibles like Tony Randall in real life and on TV in the persona of the hyper-fastidious Felix Unger. When Laverne and Shirley’s “Squiggy” learned he had MS, he remade his life, finding work doing what he loves, scouting baseball talent for the Seattle Mariners. American Idol’s Simon Cowell laughs all the way to the bank, scowling, spotting imperfections and shooting sarcastic barbs over the air-waves and getting paid well for it.

The gap between perfection and reality can cause deep sadness in our spirits and it is grace that heals and fills the gaps. In U2’s song, Grace,” Bono comforts the company of the imperfect with these words, “Grace makes beauty out of ugly things, Grace finds beauty in everything, Grace finds goodness in everything.”

Last week, Image Journal awarded its first annual; poetry award in honor of Denise Levertov, whose poem “The Avowal” recalls the beauty of grace this way:

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so I would learn to attain
freefall and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all surrounding grace.

Grace fills the gap between our aspirations for perfection and reality. And all God’s people said, AMEN.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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