Friday, January 08, 2010

Derelict buildings and perfectionists

photo via neeka

This might be slightly strange, but i actually love derelict buildings. And i love old doors, or broken windows, or walls which have paint flaking off them. I love council estates more than posh houses and run-down neighbourhoods more than fancy holiday destinations. I think it's because i feel more at home there and i feel out of place in 'perfect' locations. Sometimes i wonder if it's strange to like something that is so clearly in need of restoration, to like something that is so far from 'perfect', but i think i like the way that battered buildings bare the marks of life. It's like they tell the stories of countless lives, they testify to the reality of human existance - with all it's pain and all it's joy and all it's brokeness. In the same way that a worn-out teddy, that has been loved 'til it falls to pieces, seems more precious than a brand new one. I guess a lowly, battered building just is what it is. No masks, no signs of a person trying to impress. But most of all i think it's just because broken places seem more real to me than perfect places. And i think that's why i feel much more comfortable around broken people than those who seem to have it all together. 

At the very same time though such places and people do awaken in me a longing for restoration and i am looking towards the day when all things are made new. I know God is a God of transformation, who turns darkness to light, and brokeness to wholeness, and doesn't leave people in their mess.... but that is a real kind of restoration, that happens through love - it's completely different to Worldly restoration or Worldly perfection.  It's more concerned with the heart, than with outward appearances. 

In many ways it is strange that i so love run-down, unperfect places and people. I find it strange because if i'm honest, i know i am naturally a perfectionist. This trait seeps into so many parts of my life, in ways which i know are far from good and in ways which are sometimes just silly. For example, if i make a mistake when i write a letter i feel the need to tear it up and start again, rather than cross it out. And I daily have to remind myself to get my priorities right. And i daily fail at this. But deep down i would still truly rather spend my time with people who are real, however messed up and unperfect they are, than with those who spend hours trying to look perfect and sound perfect and be perfect, but care little for love. Maybe this is just because i know the person i am. And despite all my perfectionist traits, I know how foolishly unattainable perfection is. I know how sinful and foolish and broken i am.... and how really, that's what everyone is like, no matter how well they manage to hide it. The only hope with have is to trust in Jesus' perfection and stand before Him as broken, sinful beings, waiting patiently and willingly for Him to complete the work of real restoration that He has begun in us. 

No comments: