Home > spiritual formation > Wholeness does not mean perfection

Wholeness does not mean perfection

As a bit of a perfectionist, I am grateful that I can be whole without being perfect! Have been thinking about biblical idea of shalom lately and when I read the first chapter of Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness I was excited.  He writes on pages 4 and 5.  He is referring initially to Thomas Merton.

Afraid that our inner light will be extinguished or our inner darkness exposed, we hide our true identities from each other.  In the process, we become separated from our own souls.  We end up living divided lives, so far removed from the truth we hold within that we cannot know the “integrity that comes from being what you are.”

My knowledge of the divided life comes first from personal experience: I yearn to be whole, but dividedness often seems the easier choice.  As “still small voice” speaks the truth about me, my work, or the world.  I hear it and yet act as if I did not.  I withhold a personal gift that might serve a good end or commit myself to a project that I do not really believe in.  I keep silent on an issue I should address or actively break faith with one of my own convictions.  I deny my inner darkness, giving it more power over me, or I project it onto other people, creating “enemies” where none exists.

Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.  Knowing this give me hope that human wholeness–mine, yours, ours–need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.

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