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Living with the perfection of imperfection

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June 30, 2015 | 12:40 PM
“Before enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.”

— Zen saying

You come back from vacation.

You think you’ve changed.

That was the plan.

All the bad habits will go away; new ones will replace them.

You’ll remember your keys.

You’ll eat better.

You’ll be a better listener.

But here you are.

You’re still forgetting your keys. Eating as poorly as ever. You still don’t give the gift of listening like you should.

You were going to get in better shape on vacation, but all you did was gain a few pounds and only exercised walking from one store, one restaurant to another.

Truth is you haven’t changed a bit. It’s same old same old.

You wake to the familiar sounds of WTMJ on the radio.

You can’t make coffee this morning because your coffee pot is broken, but that’ll be fixed with a new one soon.

You plop down on the couch in the same spot.

Catching up on the mail that you picked up at the post office the day before. A few bills you have to pay. A few too many magazines you’ll never catch up on. The same stuff.

And a Father’s Day card from your daughter — who is too young to know the ways of change.

You get in the shower. Shave. Notice that a light bulb needs changing in the bathroom — there’s always something.

You get dressed. Leave the bed unmade — another resolution blown up before it began.

Drive to work the same old way — but what a wonderful way.

Down the hill to the lake that may not be quite like the ocean you visited, but great in its own way. Car windows lowered to let in those familiar smells.

Past familiar sites. Speedo’s with chairs out front. The stores slowly waking up for business. Cars waiting for the lights to change.

Notice the Farmer’s Market is open. Forgot it was Thursday. It’s your first day back; time has taken a vacation, too.

Drop in to a desk full of paper. That will be cleaned up mid-morning and you’ll be back to normal.

Answer a few emails. A complaint; a compliment. Just the same as before.

Take a look at your schedule. This, that to get done.

Back in the saddle, the lovely routine.

A few hi’s. A smile or two. “How was your vacation?” they ask. Good. Great! You’d like to say it’s life-changing, but you can’t.

Living with imperfection — the usual way.

Home again, home again.

Returning to the joy of the ordinary.

Halverson is general manager of the Regional News.


Tags: Staff Editorial

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