Faults up close


I was going through my books and magazines culling them to see what to get rid of. A current magazine with the picture of Mount Rushmore on the cover appeared and out of curiosity. I began reading about some trivia on its creation and future. 


I remember years ago visiting the site and gazing with wonder at the unbelievable workmanship that it took to carve the faces of some of our famous presidents. If anything looks like it could withstand time, it’s Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


The article concluded on an interesting finding. Maintenance crews had found something disturbing — cracks running through the granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln. The monument isn’t in immediate danger, but experts said that without a facelift, the world’s largest sculpture could begin crumbling. Water runs into the cracks and freezes in winter, which push on the rock with a force of 2,000 pounds per square inch.


I don’t remember seeing any of these cracks and faults on the faces. From where I stood at a distance, it looked perfect and wonderful. I guess one had to be closer to see these discrepancies.  You must be looking for faults and failures and then you will see them.


It’s easy to see faults and failures in others. I easily notice them when I am judging them and comparing them to myself. I looked for the cracks in their personality and looks so I may feel better about my imperfections. 


It’s easy to see faults and failures in myself. I’m always comparing what I look like and the lack of talent compared to others. I look into mirror and see the aging, unfulfilled dreams and disappointments. 


It’s easy to see faults and failures in our society. I hear constant bad news of anger, death and hopelessness. The news seems to report these events over love, kindness and forgiveness.


Yes, when I look closely, I see the cracks and faults in the image of life. But, when I stand back and look at the whole picture of the wonder of creation and love that brought it about, I don’t notice the imperfections so easily. Up close, I miss the miracle of life. I miss the beauty of life in all its ways. I may know of the imperfections found up close, but I need to look at the whole picture of life’s intent and destiny. It is amazing. Despite the faults, the total creational image is greater. You are amazing. I’m amazing. We were made with amazing love. It’s our job to fill in the cracks and faults with faith, love and forgiveness. 

By Retired Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Ray Bailey

Former Deputy Chief of Chaplains