While in elementary school, I never got good marks for Penmanship. No matter how hard I tried, it just wasn’t my strong suit. By 9th grade, all my homework assignments were required to be typed. That turned out not to be a strong suit either: neither the homework nor the typing. Imagine my surprise then, when over the last several years, I have been able to handwrite the King James Bible and have people say it was beautiful. I have cautiously come to embrace that sentiment as well, weak suits notwithstanding.
So why were my feelings so bruised when someone saw the work for the first time and marveled at its precision while passively suggesting that the individual letters were not quite perfect? I’m with those letters every day, so I know they’re not perfect. Still, I want them to be perfect: absolutely.
I haven’t figured all this out for myself. Perhaps it’s simply the pursuit of something unattainable. I don’t know why I do that. Is it good or is it just silly?
Anyway, that gentle criticism has elevated my efforts to another level of care. The letters are still not absolutely perfect, but I am ever more exhilarated by the prospect of them being better. Maybe that could be enough.
As published in the April 2012 issue of "St. Peter's Press," the monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, New York. At the time of publication, Phillip was nearly finished with the Apocrypha.