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Posts Tagged ‘Unfamiliar Fishes’

We are flawed creatures, all of us. Some of us think that means we should fix our flaws. But get rid of my flaws and there would be no one left. (Sarah Vowell)

Sarah Vowell has written six nonfiction historical books, including Lafayette in the Somewhat United States and Unfamiliar Fishes. She is an actress. I’ve seen her interviewed and been mesmerized by her wit. Therefore, I read the last sentence—several times. “But get rid of my flaws and there would be no one left.” Should that read But get rid of flaws and there would be no one left? Or should it be, But get rid of my flaws and I would not be?

Then again, perhaps Ms. Vowell is onto something. Each individual is a part of the whole. We share flaws the way we share common emotional existence. No one has it all. Perhaps that is why we were designed to be social beings. I am part of the whole. The whole is part of me. Or, she could be saying that without flaws she is only a shell with no one inside. It’s a question for my grammar-freak friends.

Today gray clouds fill the sky, but an almost circular hole opens and lets the blue peek through. By the time I have driven to my destination the sun has won. For now. The TV news loves to forecast sensationalism and doom. Unusually warm winter temperatures should fight with cold air soon, giving birth to storms.

And I realize that storms inside me want to rise, too. They want to make a big fuss about recent mistakes, failures that feel larger and higher than the clouds. Yet, those mistakes don’t rise to more than my four-foot-eleven height off the ground.

Then four-year-old Dakota rushes into our house. His huge brown eyes let me know he is happy to be here. Little people don’t hide their feelings. He asks why at least a thousand times. “Why isn’t your hair long like my mommy’s?” “Why isn’t Jay back from the YMCA yet?” When he heard that I was going for physical therapy for my neck he wanted to know, “Are they going to take your neck off?”

Fortunately that answer was a simple no. I smile at his innocence. He doesn’t know how small he is yet, how much growing he needs to do before he is an adult. The statement, in an hour, has as much meaning to him as the unfathomable size of the universe has for me. I can’t grasp it. Nor will I ever comprehend more than theory.

Yet, none of the people I love are perfect. If they were I would have nothing in common with them. So, I thank Sarah Vowell for her honesty, and look at my flaws with a tad more reverence.

mistakes The Optiism Revolution

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