An Excerpt from Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life by Philip Simmons

In this paean to the art of living in the present moment with attention and creativity, Philip Simmons contemplates the ordinary and the imperfection.

"We have all heard poems, songs, and prayers that exhort us to see God in a blade of grass, a drop of dew, a child's eyes, or the petals of a flower. Now when I hear such things I say that's too easy. Our greater challenge is to see God not only in the eyes of the suffering child but in the suffering itself. To thank God for the sunset pink clouds over Red Hill — but also for the mosquitoes I must fan from my face while watching the clouds. To thank God for broken bones and broken hearts, for everything that opens us to the mystery of our humanness. The challenge is to stand at the sink with your hands in the dishwater, fuming over a quarrel with your spouse, children at your back clamoring for attention, the radio blatting the bad news from Bosnia, and to say 'God is here, now, in this room, here in this dishwater, in this dirty spoon.' Don't talk to me about flowers and sunshine and waterfalls: this is the ground, here, now, in all that is ordinary and imperfect, this is the ground in which life sows the seeds of our fulfillment.

"The imperfect is our paradise.

"Let us pray, then, that we do not shun the struggle. May we attend with mindfulness, generosity, and compassion to all that is broken in our lives. May we live fully in each flawed and too human moment, and thereby gain the victory."

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