Last night after dinner I laid down on the couch to watch a little TV. As luck would have it, through some strange twist of fate, I actually had the remote control to myself. As I flipped through the menu, I found what probably most people find on a weeknight…a whole lot of nothing. Determined not to let my good fortune go to waste, I decided to pamper myself a little by watching something that would be of interest only to me. I know that sounds selfish, but were you to know the dynamics of television viewing in my house, then you’d probably understand why my selfishness was so rightly deserved.
After skimming through the myriad of uninteresting options, I finally settled on what turned out to be a most fascinating show entitled The Once and Future City: Los Angeles. I quickly found myself engrossed as the history of the city I call home was highlighted. As with all conversations regarding this City of Angeles, the discussion soon turned to that natural phenomenon called earthquakes. I must admit to being a little bit nervous after hearning that the Los Angeles Basin sits on over 100 different fault lines. As with nearly everyone of the 15-plus million people that inhabit this city and the surrounding areas, I’ve experienced my fair share of the earth adjusting itself. It does tend to get the heart rate going!
As I watched, a lady who specializes in earthquakes in general and in the fault lines in and around the Los Angeles area in particular, began to talk about the frequency of the earth’s movements. Did you know that our earth is in constant motion? As she talked, some of the most amazing shots of the topography in and around the Los Angeles Basin flashed onto the screen. As the beautiful mountains and craggy peaks that surround the Basin were spotlighted, this specialist explained that they were the result of massive upheavals in the earth. The past frequency of the giant tremblors that caused these massive upheavals has only recently begun to be understood. Less certain is predicting when one will happen in the future.
As the show moved past talk of earthquakes, the many activities, tourist traps, local destinations and the wide variety of flora and fauna were given exquisite review (I love high definition) but it wasn’t until the cameras were zoomed in over some of the canyons surrounding this city that I really sat up and took notice. The narrator, in a passionate voice, said that Los Angeles, this City of Angeles, is only perfect because of its faults.
I thought about that for a minute. The wide variety of topography that is the Los Angeles Basin, from the beaches to the forests and mountains, are the direct result of faults in the earth. As the earth has groaned and moved, it has created these amazingly beautiful mountains and valleys. Rock formations that are unique only to this area litter the valleys and yes, periodically some of our roadways. The beauty that encompasses this area is only on display because of the fault lines that criss cross this entire area.
I have a lot of faults! I’m also a bit of a perfectionist! Which means that my faults drive me NUTS! As I thought about what that lady said on the show last night, I began to wonder if perhaps my faults were included in my hard-wiring on purpose. Perhaps the fault lines in my life are there to make me a more well-rounded, more “perfect” individual.
I am beginning to think that in our desire to be “perfect” people, we are overlooking the simple fact that our faults are what make us perfect. In the scriptures we are told that we are uniquely and wonderfully made in the image of God. Most of the time I don’t feel that way. At times, certain segments of society seem to tell me I should act a certain way or that I should “change” who I am. There are others who say that smoothing over some of my peaks and valleys is the only way I’ll be able to function in this world of ours. Who knows, right?! There is a lot about me that some might consider to be defective or faulty! In the scriptures there is a verse translated by Phillips that goes we have this treasure [life] in cracked pots. In a world full of “cracked pots” I’m beginning to wonder if we aren’t putting some sort of false pressure on people to cover up their cracks or fault lines so as to conform to some sort of collective vision of perfection.
My best friend was in a car accident several years ago that severely broke both of his legs. The force of the accident was so severe in fact that the accelerator pedal literally went through one of his legs. Today, both of his legs have scars of varying sizes and degrees. There’s even a place where one can plainly see the pattern of a late 1990’s Honda accelerator pedal. Some people find these scars to be “gross” and have suggested that he hide them by not wearing shorts. But to me, these scars, these fault lines, are the most beautiful things in the world. They tell a story of courage and bravery; of tenacity and strength in the face of huge obstacles. These fault lines define perfection!
Perhaps it is time that we began to embrace our fault lines, realizing that we are only perfect because of them! There will always be people in our lives who will tell us which of our “faults” we need to get rid of. Often these folks seem to work double time to make us feel inferior. But as I’m learning about what true perfection is, my response to these folks is a prayer; the Serenity Prayer.
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Christina Aguilera won a Grammy for singing “I am beautiful, no matter what they say!” God made us unique; each and every one of us! We are beautiful in our own way! I think that it is time to start remembering that it is only our fault lines that make us perfect!