James Baldwin wrote, “My progress report concerning my journey to the palace of wisdom is discouraging. I lack certain indispensable aptitudes. Furthermore, it appears that I packed the wrong things.”
I am in the middle of a project to repair and remodel two bathrooms in my house. Because the pipes within and from my house to the sewer system have very little fall, I need a new toilet that uses 1.6 gallons per flush rather than the new standard of 1.28 gpf in order to have adequate flow for the gravity system to work. Much to my delight I was able to order online one that met my needs.
The toilet came by freight truck. But because there was no way the truck could actually get to my house on the narrow streets and around tight corners, I suddenly had to scramble to find a way to meet the truck and collect the heavy and bulky freight.
Weeks later the plumber came to install one of the toilets—a great source of excitement because it meant that the project was finally underway. However, I discovered then that I had failed to get the comfort-height that we needed and that the elongated toilet bowl that I had bought extended further into the room than I had expected. Disappointment took over.
Then after using the toilet I discovered it flushes quickly and quietly—a big improvement. And the elongated bowl being thin allows the cabinet doors to open better than they had before.
My lack of knowledge and failure to be attentive to all the details has taken me on a roller coaster ride. And the journey has just begun.
My mistakes have been costly, but I have learned a lot. Having been a perfectionist most of my life, this experience would earlier have flattened me. Instead, I have learned that a bathroom is a small matter in the whole scheme of things. I have had a choice to laugh or cry and I have chosen to laugh; the saga (and there is more I didn’t tell) really is funny. And I’ve had more practice seeing and swallowing that I make mistakes just like everyone else. It never hurts to know the absurdity of chasing perfection.
Says St. Catherine of Siena: “Wisdom is so kind and wise that wherever you may look you can learn something about God. Why would not the omnipresent teach that way?”
How are you doing on your “journey to the palace of wisdom”?
How well do you use your experience of life to “learn something about God”?
Gracious, merciful, and loving God, help us keep perspective on what really matters and hold fast to You.
For further reflection:
“. . . neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers . . . , nor height, nor depth . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (See Romans 8: 31-39).
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (See Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8).