Monasteries of the Heart

O Happy Flaw!

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It happened again. The graphic artist came in distraught, “The fundraiser invitations were put in the mail this morning and we just discovered the date is wrong.” Admittedly, this is a major error, but after more than 40 years experience in publishing books, newsletters, magazines, and now blogs, I can’t get too excited.

I’ve come to expect that almost every publication will have one flaw no matter how many times it’s proofed. And I’ve made my peace with flaws. Especially after someone told me that one of the Native American tribes deliberately put a flaw in each piece of art they created. It was to remind that that nothing is perfect save God.

So it’s freeing to know that mistakes are part of the human condition.

Then I read this from a Hopi potter, “the flaw should not take away from the overall form, beauty and essence of the vessel….In the same way, a flaw in your own life, which often cannot be seen by others, should not keep you from reflecting your overall form and beauty.”

In the case of the invitation…well, the date is wrong, but it’s a beautiful piece, easily fixed with a follow-up postcard.

All of this reminded me of a birthday card that I received a few years ago and kept. It made me laugh hard and keeps all publication mistakes in perspective:

A group of monks are copying the laws of the Church by hand. A new monk notices that they’re copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.

He tells the head monk, “If there was an error in the first copy, every copy after that would have the same error!”

The head monk says, “Good point,” and goes to get the original manuscript. Later the young monk finds the head monk with head on the desk crying, “The forgot the ‘R’!!” “They forgot the ‘R’!”

The young monk asks, “Father, what’s wrong?” Choking back tears, the old monk replies… “The word is ‘celebRate!’ ‘celebRate!’”