If you were to ask Emma what her favorite books are, chances are good that she would tell you all about Gerald and Piggie. For those who don’t know about this Elephant and Pig duo, here’s a brief synopsis. Gerald, an overly cautious and sometimes terrified elephant, is best friends with Piggie, an overly enthusiastic and sometimes illogical pig. They face every day dramas and dilemmas, pondering the great questions of our time, like “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” and challenging discriminatory attitudes, like “Elephants Cannot Dance.” (For real. Those are the titles of the books.) There’s always resolution at the end of each story, and Gerald and Piggie continue merrily on their way until the next big thing.
One of our favorites is a book called “Today I Will Fly.”
In this exciting story, Piggie tells Gerald that she has decided that today she will fly. Gerald reacts just like you would expect – he tells Piggie that she will NOT fly because she’s a pig, and pigs do NOT fly. Piggie continues to argue that she WILL fly, because she will TRY. That’s right. She’s going to try until pigs fly, y’all. Literally. In the end, Piggie figures out a way to fly by hitching a ride with a bird. While I’d call foul on this, Gerald is totally impressed by his friend and her innovation. Once again, Piggie’s foolish optimism has won the day, and the story ends on a happy note.
Some days, I find myself thinking like Piggie. I approach my life with the super spiritual thought that for once, I’m going to get it completely right. From this moment on, I tell myself, I will be holy and sinless as God Himself is holy and sinless. Something to definitely aspire to do as Scripture calls us to leave our sin and be transformed and renewed… but then it all comes to a screeching halt when I’m driving the speed limit and someone pulls in front of me driving thirty miles below that and I want to go on a murderous rampage. Or I hear something really juicy about someone and want to go share it. Or I look at someone else who is struggling with sin in more visible ways than I am and I feel like congratulating myself, which ironically makes me worse off than them. Darn it! Sin! All over the place! All over my heart!
Yep, I was going to fly… and I end up crashing and burning.
I’m getting to the place where, as a recovering perfectionist, I’m finally realizing that I’m never going to get it completely right. Gasp! I’m going to try, just like Piggie kept telling Gerald she was going to try, but I know that I’m human and that grace is what it is because I’ll never stop needing it. Pigs can’t fly no matter how optimistic they might be. And I can’t be sinless, even as I’m walking with Christ and pursuing holiness.
Can we give ourselves grace when we just don’t get it right? Can we accept grace as it is, not using it as excuse to live godless lives but embracing the mercy of our Savior when He extends it to us as we struggle and grow to be more like Him?
I think we can. Pigs can’t fly. But grace is enough.
Thanks for the word, Piggie…