‘Take it Easy on Me’ — The way of imperfection

There’s really only one assumption we can make about one another: that is, within all of us, there’s a little war going on between who we know ourselves to be, and who we long to be. The permutations of that war are endless, as is, it seems, its length. But truces must be called.

Many years ago, driving home from work after a long day, the kind of day that left me lingering over a list of regrets and disappointments—which for all that, is kind of like pushing slivers into the palm of your hand—a song came over the speakers of my little red car. I recall I was listening to CKUA and they were playing Maria Dunn and it was dusk and the street lights were beginning to blinker on. And it was all a bit of mercy.


We give our ourselves away, and pray to be taken in. We open up, and hope for a yes in a world of no’s. We put our best selves forward—but they are always a bit frayed, ragged—and we watch for acceptance. And we do all this with the hope of warm arms, and kindness. And when it comes, we see—for kindness always brings revelation—that we may have been wrong about who we know ourselves to be, for the judiciary in our heads is almost always far too exacting. And too, we may find that who we long to be, is not exactly who we should be.

And we make adjustments, but we never give up longing, and so, I suppose, we never entirely give up self-reproach. For we all walk the way of imperfection. The truth of it is, as far as I can tell, is that our imperfection is a grace. The way of imperfection, which I’m thinking is a kind of shabby-love-with-potential, calls us toward an image of ourselves yet to be created.

It’s an unbidden, unwilled image, which means it’s a true image. And it calls us to reciprocal kindness, even to acts of unpremeditated self-sacrifice. And when we glimpse it, it’s like a little miracle—a street light coming on when all around dusk is falling.


  1. What a beautiful song by Maria Dunn. And beautiful reflections on imperfections. I’m working this week on 1 Corinthians 13 – love is patient, love is kind … love never fails … now we see in part … then we shall be complete … we shall know as we are known … now remain faith, hope and love, these three, and the greatest of these is love. Take it easy on me….

  2. imperfection as a grace and as a kind of shabby-love-with-potential – creative potential… i will carry these thoughts with me to my morning hike in the canyon. thank you, stephen.

  3. Your writing is profoundly beautiful. I will share this with my teenage daughter in hopes that she will one day come to believe and accept her imperfections as the gifts they are, and see the same in others. For now she is caught in a cycle of breaking others in an attempt to fix herself. Needless to say, it’s not working.

  4. waking almost daily with judiciary voices in my head – reading this post, ‘imperfections being a kind of grace’ – and – ‘ a kind of shabby-love-with-potential’, gives me another glimpse of how i can live gentler and kinder with myself. thanks for posting.

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