Purposed Imperfection

“You can be anything you want to be if you just want it bad enough and work hard enough” — this is a popular instruction today; you hear it everywhere. It sounds reasonable, and it stands as a measure of character, as if to suggest that if we all did not get to the top of our game we must be lazy. Let’s test this for a second, before I continue: Imagine Danny Devito as a power forward for the Toronto Raptors, or Andre the Giant as a jockey aboard Seabiscuit. How much effort would it take for them to rise to the top?

It’s difficult to apply this truth during seasons of disorientation, such as we the one we are in currently. What does working hard have to do with losing a job, or business due to the impacts of a pandemic? But, there is a a practical principle to be applied here that transcends any pandemic; an aspect of grace is that is a seemingly paradoxical blend of fullness, acceptance and contentment.

I enjoy playing guitar, but my hands are large and strong – they will never rip through scales to perform intricate leads. I enjoy singing, and I am enjoying a recent rebirth and a voyage into the genre of Blues-Southern-Rock. I have met with producers in the past, and they have suggested that I could make it in the music business if I worked hard, carved out a niche and spent 300 days on the road. Maybe they are right – but there would be a cost to pursue this: A sacrifice of family time, currently living standard, and a life on the road, schlepping gear from venue to venue. Maybe I just don’t want it bad enough.

The music business is an interesting place. We have come to expect and reward perfection and excellence. I once heard that an artist spent $100,000 on the production of a single song. I don’t stay in touch with these costs, so I can’t tell you how many artists do this, but I can tell you I am not willing to go there. I think that’s one of the things I like about the genre of blues; it allows for a bit of imperfection. Similar to my enjoyment of pallet-wood projects, it seems like the rougher the better – a kind of purposed imperfection that is  more raw and less refined. The gaps, colour and texture variances should be out of place, but they all combine to be something beautiful to the eye.

Understanding this principle has helped me to understand what it means to #livewithGrace – to hold grace for self, others and life. It provides a freedom to be. I can add achieving, but achievement is now permitted to travel the direction of optimal – the most favourable condition for the growth and reproduction of an organism. I don’t have to feel lazy because I have been disoriented, as all of the imperfections can be worked together for good in my pallet-wood life.

Just writing these words feels like an exhale…a deeper peace.