I have something of a perfectionistic streak. You wouldn’t know it by the way I dress or by the way my office looks sometimes. I’m not OCD, but there is something in me that appreciates aesthetics, beauty, and excellence. And I demand something of myself to perform a task well, to craft something to the point of pride. I’m no Steve Jobs, but I certainly don’t come from the school of “if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly”. And I know – some good thing is better than no good thing. I get it. But that doesn’t sit well with me.
But in short, if I’m going to consider myself in the work of reconciliation, I have to (in the words of my loving yet straightforward wife) “get over myself.”
Here’s the thing, I work at a small church that shares the building with a Latino Pentecostal congregation. But my Spanish is awful, so I shy away from having direct conversations. I like to meet when there are translators and people who can “listen” and “speak” for me. Well guess what, over the last year, the needle on the “trust meter” has barely moved, and so in my broken, childish, amnesia-from-high-school-Spanish-classes-level I struggled through a conversation and got to the word, “together” — “juntos” yesterday with my Honduran pastor hermano. And let me just say, that phone call broke something between us. And I hated the process of sounding like an idiot. I hated that I couldn’t even communicate my gratitude for him or the possibility of “juntos”. I don’t like not being able to do something well. But there is not enough time in the world for reconciliation to get it right the first time.
In my mind, I paint beautiful works of reconciliation, but I don’t want to cast an errant stroke and so I wait; or I practice in other areas, but not in the thing that God has put before me because I want it to be aesthetically pleasing. My first mistake and the one lesson that I’ve learned in the last week, is that we paint “juntos” and that there is no act of reconciliation too small. If we cannot even do the small things – how on earth can we do the big things?