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A Very Human Mosaic

“God only makes what is perfect. Therefore we are perfect.”

I was in a meeting when this statement was offered as a point of reflection. (Note: pls interpret God in whatever way makes sense to you – religious, spiritual, philosophical, secular, scientific, Jedi … the point here is this: there is a “something” that is the stuff of which we are made – that possibly makes us, and that something isn’t a mistake. We were born this way, and we were born beautiful, whole and perfect.)

As I heard this statement, I immediately thought about watching a documentary on the building of historically important Islamic mosques. The filmmakers found a contemporary artisan who restores ancient mosaics as well as designing and installing ones for new structures. Beyond the beauty, patience and incredible skill that goes into this work, I was struck by one sentiment: into each mosaic, which looks like a perfect piece of repeated symmetrical patterns, the artisan put one single flaw. One tile would be out of place or in an inconsistent colour. Why? Because only God makes what is perfect and it is considered outrageous hubris, in his tradition, to aspire to create perfection. The flaw was deliberately placed into the work in order to represent humility – the difference between what humans can create and what God creates.

God only makes what is perfect. Therefore we are perfect.

But the thing is, I wasn’t only made by God. I was made by the humans I grew up with and by the culture I live in. I continue to be made by the relationships I participate in. I was made by my relationship (or lack there of) with the Earth. I was made by the pain and trauma that went ungrieved in my family. I was made by the systems of power and oppression that make up our society. I was made by privilege and marginalization.

Humans make each other. God, life, nature – whatever you call it, makes human infants, human bodies. There is something to be said for having no shame about our bodies. How we turn out naturally is a beautiful thing and acknowledging that is important, especially in the context of our society’s systems of oppression and power. There are a multitude of ways in which our culture will tell us that we live in a wrong sort of body. It’s important not to “be made” in that image.

On the other hand, we kinda are. And whether or not we live in a body that is normative or diverse in some way, it is the humans that make us. Humanity is crafted by humans. And the many people who have made me have left flaws and mistakes in my making. Just as I have left flaws and mistakes in there’s.

Are we not all beautiful mosaics (in various stages of disrepair or care) made by life experience, filled with flaws, and not at all perfect?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to sit and wonder about making humans in the way that artisan crafts his mosaics?

  • Each human deserves to be related to and contributed to as if they were a work of art – an expression of something beautiful and offered as a testimony to the gratitude we feel for being here.
  • Each human is, in fact, a creation of other humans. We create each other through our relationships and ways of relating. And that builds a mosaic of experience which we reflect back to the world.
  • Wholeness and beauty are an innate part of life, but the embodied patterns that demonstrate that (the mosaic) are up to us to craft, nurture, learn and dedicate our lives to becoming good at. And we craft it not so much for/in ourselves, but for/in others.
  • Making humans then is like listening for the inspiration and imagination of art. We relate to – we stay in relationship with, what we sense in others, what is calling to be expressed and offer to help put those things in place.
  • This way of being with each other is a path of service, not of control or power. We are shaped as much by serving the art as those whose mosaic we are contributing to are shaped by our contribution.
  • Each of us will leave flaws in others and we must accept those flaws when they come to us from others. It is part of our humanity and our humility.


In gratitude:

photo credit: nostromus22 fluids via photopin (license)

Published inArticles & Essays

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