There is an ancient story the moral of which is that a cracked pot, although flawed, is better than a perfect pot because if you put a candle into a cracked pot, the light shines out through the cracks. No light can be seen from within a perfect pot.
James seems to be approaching the age of tantrums. We have had so many of them recently that I have sometimes wondered where my kind, loving toddler has disappeared.
In the malstrom of screaching and tears, I have occassionally noticed my own journey. I get anxious: what must the neighbours think? Has he woken them up again? When will this end? I also fear that he will become a selfish boy and, later, a selfish man.
This weekend the tantrums were particulary bad. After one very prolonged session, my nerves were frayed and I too was upset. Nothing I tried work. I felt frustrated and powerless. In all of this, I was aware of my turmoil but I didn't act it out. I didn't shout, sulk or scold. I stayed pretty patient. I did mutter a couple of swear words, borne of frustration, to my husband, but I was in control of my own emotions. I was good enough.
I was that cracked pot - I could see my 'imperfections' but I was able to hang on to the person I would like to be. I was upset and exhausted, but I was also calm for James. I was a good enough mum.
This is the reason I follow a spiritual path: to know myself and my own limitations, and yet not to be bound by them, to surpass those limitations from time to time. We are all cracked pots. If we have lived at all, we have been cracked by the tumbles and turmoils of life. That is our perfection: striving to be more than our faults and failings is when we shine to those around us.