Well… no, you’re not. I’m not either. Of course, I speak from within my own faith, but there really isn’t a major religious tradition on the planet that doesn’t recognize, in some way, that humanity is broken, that we are all broken and in need of being fixed. So, no one is “perfect just the way they are.” That is to skate around reality. To believe this is to avoid the hard work that belongs to transformation. In ignoring this, you not only keep yourself broken and welcome the continuing ontological harm that it can do to you, you also put everyone around you in harm’s way. Broken doesn’t fix or help broken. It just makes the mess more messy for everyone.
However you want to recognize that you are broken, it just needs to be recognized. You have to see it. You need to acknowledge the reality of it. I’m not talking about Hell or punishment. I’m not talking about whether or not you’re “good enough” to be loved or to exist. I’m not saying anything like that. I’m saying what has always been said, in either good and helpful or bad and unhelpful ways, that this cosmos, this realm of our existence, is cracked, is broken, and that goes down into the level of our being, all of us. We don’t come out perfect. Our “choice-makers” don’t come out working just right. And along the way, we may either learn to be good or learn to be bad, better or worse, if you will. But, we are in need of transformation.
This deep change we are all in need of doesn’t just happen in one way. It also doesn’t happen overnight or instantaneously. Just because someone, however well meaning or gifted, lays their hands on you, and you feel something amazing, and fall down, doesn’t mean you are FIXED. It may have been part of the process, but that one event didn’t do it. Just because you feel guilt over something you have done (which perhaps you should to some extent), and you go to Confession, confess your sins, are truly sorry and intend to be a better human, and receive Sacramental absolution from the hands of a Priest, does NOT mean you are entirely FIXED (think sex-abuse scandal, or about any psychopathic serial killer who’s ever gone to confession).
Transformation into what and who you were created to be is the goal, and this is a long process – life long. There are certainly tangible steps we must take along the way, and all those steps may not be the same for everyone, but we must take them. We must put ourselves under the running water in order to get wet and be washed. These are all analogies, you understand. Almost anything we can come up with to describe what’s going on in that deep, deep process is simply something we come up with so that we can at least partly understand it. We must open ourselves, get into the flow, step into the river, be washed, have reconstructive surgery, get a soul transplant – yes, all that. However we understand it (although partly), we have to find that way to put ourselves into the way, The Way. And if we expect it to happen quickly, we will be disappointed and perhaps, give up. Don’t give up. Adjust your expectations. Keep moving in that direction.
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