There are a lot of people who don't believe in perfect. That it is the made-up stuff of Disney, modern-day advertising and the imagination. The false standard by which everything falls short.
And I think that is a fantastic way to guard your heart against disappointment, when it inevitably comes. Because I do believe that we are all disappointed, or hurt or wounded at some point in our lives. There is sin, period. And it sucks.
But I don't believe that the presence of struggle is equal to the complete absence of perfection.
Perfect is absolutely, everyday. Attainable in pieces. In moments of minutes or seconds, maybe years. And sometimes we know that sunny and 75 degrees is perfect, and sometimes we just live in it obliviously until we suffer with the comparison of 11 degrees and icy.
There was never a stage of my life that I thought was perfect as I lived it. But when I look back, I know that it has been good, even if there has been...struggle. Struggle with being a teenager, fitting in, passing math (year, after year, after year), going off to college, taking responsibility for myself and my laundry (still not quite there), leaving college. Working.
Losing a child.
Those periods were always characterized by what was missing, or lacking or challenging or terrible...but the good stuff. Oh the good stuff.
The good stuff WAS perfect. Small glimpses of heaven, that in the moment were always outweighed by some sort of drama. But that's the point. We can't really get a clear view of that kind of perfect, without the drama. But it is there. Here. Now.
And when I look back, and the struggle of that particular moment is dead and gone, the good stuff is still there. It is real. It's what held me up, even if I didn't know it, or recognize it, or see it. I just couldn't separate it from what was hurting or missing or disappointing.
And I say all of this because there is a sweet little girl who is very brave, and hurting and surely very scared all at the same time today. And in the past couple of days, I'm sure her idea of perfect (and those of her parents) have been rattled to the core.
E, a daughter of good friends of ours had an awful accident this weekend, when she tripped into a fire pit and received third degree burns on the skin of her shoulder and back. And it was, and continues to be the worst pain, I am sure she has ever felt in her life. And it is very far from perfect, or what her parents imagined for her as a seven-year-old girl.
I can only imagine that every single member of that family is in the trenches right now. Surviving. Dealing. Wrestling.
But eventually, her skin will heal. Her grafts will take, and her pain will lessen. This chaos they live in will slip back to normal, without even being noticed. They will learn to dress bandages, and they will learn to be careful with E's new skin. And eventually that "new" skin will be HER skin. And that horrible accident will be HER story. Her perfect story.
And one day, I hope, they will see small slices of perfection in what is now just painful and heart breaking. That they will love E and their two children just a little differently. That milk spills and puke and sassy talk can be perfect (and frustrating), too. Because even the everyday, uneventful times are perfect in their normalcy, too. Especially when compared to the HARD times.
Josh & Mandy, I hope you see some small piece of perfect today.