Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Perfect Storm (In A Teacup)

I remember this phrase leaping out at me from the pages of the movie review section, some time ago. It sounded so Platonic, so beautifully complete in itself (yes, that's one of my themes these days, sorry for boring you). But then I realised that it's hard to define 'perfect storm' when you don't know what a perfect storm is and have never seen one. Sure, you can extrapolate; sure you can imagine and calculate and invent an ideal storm – but you will never know perfection, or indeed, if such a thing can be made perfect at all.

It's like people who want to be the perfect star, the perfect cyclist, the perfect fencer, the perfect clown. Perhaps these are indeed their destinies; most probably, not. But God has wrought in each the potential to be the person perfectable, the person who will be made perfect in weakness. Not for humans the perfect symmetry – your left lung has two lobes, your right lung has three; your liver is on one side, your stomach the other. Rather, an asymmetric whole, which God will have His own opinion on, whatever you might think about it.

We are all perfectable, and we may not know why, or how, or in what way. But He does, and that whole perfection is worth all the wait. As a famous poet wrote in one of his not-so-famous moments:

Fool! All that is, at all,
Lasts ever, past recall;
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be:
Time’s wheel runs back or stops: potter and clay endure.

We are clay, and clay does not define its final shape. But if God is the potter, God will, and does. And that is what makes purpose; not what the clay chooses, but what the potter makes of it. Even a teacup will do.

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