Many years ago, I was accused. Oh, not in the criminal sense. But accused, none the less, by someone I knew. Not of having done something wrong but of having done something right.
That person accused me of being perfect. At first, I honestly thought she was kidding, so I laughed heartily, but when she didn’t guffaw with me, I soon realized she was serious.
She pronounced her judgment based on some kind of façade that somehow defined for her who I was. She only looked on the outside picture of my life and decided I possessed a perfect home, perfect marriage, perfect children…you get the drift.
All of which made me realize she really didn’t know me. Because if she really knew me, she would know I had lots of imperfections and flaws — warts and all.
In reality, she was light-years away from being correct about her pronouncement on my life.
To be fair, she only visited my home on a few occasions when it was spit spot clean and neat. She never saw what it looked like on a daily basis with dirty dishes in the sink, legos and tons of other junk strewn all over the family room floor, dust so thickly covering the end tables that you could write your name in it, less than sweet smelling clothing spewing forth from the hamper, and toothpaste smeared all over the bathroom sink.
She only saw my children at church when they were warned to be on their absolute best behavior and were dressed in their Sunday best clothing. She never got the opportunity to see them squabbling in the car back seat or screaming and throwing things at each other at home. Or trying my patience with disobedience.
She only spent time with my husband and me on social occasions or at church events. So yeah, we too were on our best behaviors then with smiles plastered on our faces, even though we probably just had an argument in the car on the way.
And she usually only saw me in a clean, neat outfit with hair and make-up done, not with straggly hair and attired in loose baggy t-shirts and sweatpants which were my stay-at-home and be comfortable look.
Her indictment on my life bothered me so much at the time that I still remember it even now, many years later. Honestly, her claiming I was perfect astounded me. First of all because she had the nerve to say it out loud to my face and secondly because I really thought that I was, in no way, trying to put on the airs of perfection. In any part of my life.
Perfection is unachievable here on this earth. I knew that back then and I know it now even more so.
Back when I was reproached for being ‘perfect,’ it was true that I attempted to keep my home clean and presentable and liked everything in its proper place when company was coming. It’s also true that at the time, we lived in a very nice house thanks to my husband’s hard work in his career and my thriftiness making that home attainable.
It’s true that my children were well-groomed and nicely dressed. In my world, they came first and I would do without things for myself so that they could look presentable.
It’s also true that I didn’t air the dirty laundry of difficulties married life often brought but kept those to myself. Many aspects of our relationship my husband and I kept private between the two of us as it should be.
We also lifted our disagreements and disappointments with each other up to our God in prayer and concentrated on working things out together instead of blabbing about them to others.
So I guess I can almost understand why someone who only looked on the outside of my life may have thought I had a perfect one, but it was and still is far from that. Nevertheless, Papa and I have lived a good life these past 40 years together.
Perfectly imperfect. That’s life. With all its bumps and twists and turns. Difficult times, gutting-wrenching times, times of happiness and joy yet times of agony and despair.
That’s life, and it surely isn’t perfection.
But I have to say I am a tad proud that we’ve made it this far, together in our imperfect life. I don’t declare that in a boastful way but with sincere humility and gratefulness because I am not perfect.
Neither are my husband or my family. We have faults, we have imperfections, we have flaws, and sometimes we entertain ugly thoughts in our minds and hearts. Because we’re human.
And this is real life. Not perfect life.
But I’m most thankful for this imperfect life I’ve been given. It’s made me who I am, warts and all.
“I’m not perfect, but those flaws make an interesting person.” ~ Mary Frann