The Excellence of Eric Bibb

I am not a big fan of perfectionism though I am in awe of excellence. Watching the Sedins pass the puck, or my grandson laugh eating a mouthful of banana bread, or driving a Porsche 911 as fast as it should go — this is  the experience of excellence.

But perfectionism robs the delight from a lovely object or a job well done. Perfectionism removes the joy from success and squashes creativity, courage and simple relationships while doing it.

You cannot find perfectionism and happiness in the soul of the same person — they are antithetical. Once a perfectionist succeeds, all he feels is relief, having dodged the bullet of failure one more time.

Perfectionism is the fear of failure. Whereas, excellence is the one who risks failure to succeed. There are excellent mothers and fathers, pastors  and churches, kids and teens, students and professors (I am in the middle of marking academic papers from my teaching in Kenya last December), but none that are perfect.

Last week David (my son) and I went to hear Eric Bibb sing and play at Capilano University. An amazing concert with gorgeous sounds, and tearfully touching when Eric introduced 90 year old Leon Bibb, his mentor and beloved father. Father Bibb’s voice is not what it was perhaps but there was an even more excellent thing. Hearing the Bibbs sing with arms wrapped around each other, weeping with the friendship of many years, the music was transported. And here I was with my son. Excellent it was.

And more… I read a Psychology Today article on”Perfectionism” for a parenting class I am teaching this Saturday. It is worth reading.

The Guest House (Rumi)

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

(Rumi was a 13th C Muslim poet. This reflection sounds like wisdom to many who experience depression, loss and heartache. Change happens only when acceptance precedes it. Ignoring one’s life — or worse, rejecting one’s life — is the surest way to non-change.)