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Sue to Mark 19 pt. 2


        Ok, back to a fuller response to your self-analysis. I understand perfectionists, because on some level, I am one, although you'd never know it because my tolerance level is pretty high. I've often wondered how idealism fits in there. I've thought a lot about these issues, especially when I taught college, because so much of the literature we worked with dramatized the problems idealists and perfectionists have in interfacing with the real world. Like Hamlet, for instance, who never can reconcile the ideal picture in his head of what humanity ought to be, with the ugly reality in both himself and others. I finally came to the conclusion that Hamlet didn't understand the essence of Christianity: believers know that Christ's work on the cross takes care of all that - takes care of the destruction and guilt created by our sin-nature. I've gotten off-track here, sorry. It's just so seductive actually communicating with an adult who not only can process what you are saying, but find within himself a response.

        Well, if you are a perfectionist, I can trust that whatever you do, you will be shooting for excellence, whether it is fixing a washing machine or writing me an e-mail! So that's the up-side. But I've realized that perfectionists pay a heavy price for that excellence. They seem to set themselves up for excessive frustration and disappointment. But I was relieved to see that you didn't necessarily expect it of others. 'Cause you ain't gonna find it in me! The ideal of the perfect is something I struggle with as a parent. Especially with my oldest, for some reason. I expect so much of her, way more than a 14-yr-old can reasonably be expected to deliver. Poor baby, being the oldest isn't fair!



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