Square Pegs, Procrustes & Perfection

on 18 November 2009

One of the few things I remember from Apollo 13 that has stuck with me all these years is the following scene.
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It always stuck with me because I remember thinking “How preposterous to fit a square peg into a round hole, the parts just don’t fit.”

I don’t remember much else from that movie, but needless to say, it has stuck with me and recently I thought about that more and realized… I am the square peg. Some people try to convince me that I am round, some people have tried to force me to be round, and some think I should find a square hole. Each of these views comes from a person who has found something that works for them, but I recognize that I am unique and there may not be “one” answer for every square peg.

Ok I am rambling, but indulge me a bit further on another tangent, I swear I will pull it together at the end … I always do.

While reading C.S. Lewis the other day I recalled the myth of Procrustes. He was the smith who would put travelers in his bed and make them fit it. If they were too small he would hammer them out to fit. If they were too big, then he might chop them down a size. In a way, he was making square pegs round.
I have thought about our sexuality and what happens to it after we die a lot lately because nothing seemed to fit for me (imagine that!) When I looked at all these pieces though it came together for me and I want to share that with you here. You see, some people say that our sexuality is a mortal imperfection that will be made perfect in the life to come, in opposition to that, many have said “To Hell with that, I will keep who I am, thank-you very much.”

We are told that in the next life we will be made perfect, if perfection is an eternal absolute, then wouldn’t we all become the same? Wouldn’t we become someone completely different from who we are? Doesn’t the Christian concept of a “Body of Christ” make more sense in that light? Is Christ, our eternal judge, truly holding us to the standard of a Procrustean bed and using this life to refine us into this model of perfection? Even if it means completely changing us from who we are and what makes us, as his brothers and sisters whom He knows by name, who we are? Or is He the one who fits us to the right place where we were built to be a organs in the gospel of Christ?

I have always had trouble with this notion, but have now found my personal answer. I firmly believe that we may have our own personal answers and so I will wait to disclose mine until I hear from you about yours.
Are you are going to be hammered into a round hole, become round or find the square hole meant for you? Let me know.

4 comments:

shaantvis said...

"Are you are going to be hammered into a round hole, become round or find the square hole meant for you?" I love this question. That's eactly how I've felt since my mission that someone's been trying to fit me in where I don't belong or make me do things that I wasn't meant to do. Now I'm at BYU and its very much the same story instead I'm the culprit. I didn't fully know what I was getting into at BYU. I'm actually considering transfering to UVU, perhaps thats the niche that I'm destined to fill?

Alan said...

I think the search for where each of us fits is lifelong. Paul was right to say "prove [test] all things [and] hold fast to that which is good." To me that means don't accept anything blindly; investigate, test, question, probe, try before you buy. An intellectually honest person will always be doing this and will always be ready to leave old paradigms behind as they acquire new knowledge and insight. I try to hold myself to this standard though it is not easy for anyone.

So "the answer" for me at this point, while subject to change, is that I think I've found where I fit, where I was meant to fit, and even though it may not be what a majority of other LDS think is "the right answer," for me it works, gives me peace of mind and heart, and my faith in the Savior and His gospel is intact.

BB said...

Thanks Dave. This is just what was needed in my life a while ago. I am glad that I have found my own hole to be pegged into.

El Genio said...

I have always felt that God intended me to be square. Of course, that doesn't mean that I will fit into every single square hole out there. In fact, I think my knowledge of the gospel, and continued desire to follow some of its standards may make it impossible for me to ever find a hole that fits me.

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