I suppose I might be classified as an quixotic idealist. Certainly, I am no saint. Indeed, I know I am a woeful sinner in desperate need of God’s grace. Nevertheless, for some reason I am always searching for and longing for perfection. For me, perfection is beauty, honor, love, and purity. I am realistic enough to know that I will never find perfection, nor will I realize that quality in myself. Nevertheless, I will always keep seeking.
My search influences my choice of music, movies, and books; and it impacts my relationship with other people in that I wish to believe the best about other’s intentions — even when I might have cause to doubt their probity and good will. Fortunately, I have not been disappointed too often. My good fortune is doubtless because my close social contacts are generally limited to persons with similar backgrounds, most of them professing Christians or other persons of good will. I am open to others, but my habits and tastes do not bring me into frequent contact with persons wholly different from me. Perhaps I should be more venturesome and charge a few windmills.
There is a strong romantic edge to my idealism. As a young boy there were two pictures on the wall in my bedroom. They were reproductions of famous paintings. One was an image of the young Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem. The other was a painting of Sir Galahad standing by his horse. These men were my youthful ideals – Jesus Christ, the Savior, and Sir Galahad, the perfect knight, a paragon of honor and chivalry.
I wanted to live up to these ideals. I often failed, but I always tried.
Last year, when I turned ninety, I acquired reproductions of those old paintings, and they hang above my bedhead as I sleep at night.
Jesus at the Temple