Friday, June 26, 2009

Perfectly Imperfect

“We don’t all live a Fairytale, you know!” sobbed a dear friend who sat at my table wailing of life’s injustices as I poured cup after cup of tea in another cottage during days gone by.

“Did she mean to imply I did live a fairytale existence?” I wondered in surprise as I mentally cataloged my life:

- Five young children (two with special needs)
- Husband I adore but rarely see due to work demands
- Budget screaming BANKRUPT at every turn
- Emotional baggage of sufficient quantity to sink a life
- And on the list grew . . .

Many years have passed and my children have grown significantly, my husband works at the jobs he chooses while occupying an office on our property, my budget stopped squeaking, and the baggage return emptied of much extraneous debris . . . and yet I still find much that belies a fairytale, despite the charge that still comes my way on occasion.

Now, I will not lie and say my life sags and groans with burdensome sorrows and such, but in an effort to “Keep It Real” around here, I felt I must speak up and say:


[Hmmmm . . . I thought I would feel magically better somehow. If this were a fairytale that would have worked.]

Absent pixie dust or a magic wand, I have only to keep hanging on to God’s proffered hand and slop through the sludgey-ness while looking for something to celebrate rather than dwell on the gripes. Gripes like . . . a nasty infection on Lydia’s leg, which the pediatrician “on call” at our regular office diagnosed as MRSA and treated accordingly. Did I mention that he was wrong BUT THE OFFICE FAILED TO CALL WHEN THE TESTS CAME BACK NEGATIVE, or that the bill reflects a “NEW” patient charge – we have been with this group the entire nine years we have lived in this town? When I called to “correct” this error the assistant informed me that it had been several years since Lydia had been seen and thus they had to update her files and charge the “new patient” fee per standard billing practice. “Does that make us a new patient?” I queried, “I thought updating was standard procedure with patients. It seems to me you are penalizing us for remaining healthy.” She sympathized but did not remove the fee. Now I know why they didn’t accept Rachel’s updated info at the same time I updated Lydia’s chart, but preferred to wait for her next visit.

But I blather on without brightening the story by admitting that this $20 poke prompted me to do something I had been planning to do for some time—namely, remove all of my kids from the pediatrics mill in town to the wonderful family practitioner that Gary and I see when needed. Why did I wait so long? Because . . . I did. : (

So, that chewed up some of the joy-factor in the past several days, but resulted in good. How, I wonder, can a lost credit card statement with a late fee attached feel good? Well, it doesn’t and I fumed. Being particular about details and budgets (I am the Chief Financial Officer, after all), I constantly battle the whims of having an absent-minded professor for a husband/business partner who never frets over money or fees or any other foible of money. “It’s just money,” he shrugs. (*GULP!*)

Dare I even mention the blown valve on the propane tank last night that cancelled out Elizabeth’s invite to join her for a soak in the hot, bubbly spa for some girl talk? Further resulting in a total lack of hot water – read: “No Showers” – until today when the valve was checked and given the okay. And by the way . . . why did it blow in the first place? Reply: [SHRUG.] “It just happens.” FUME! And then . . .

STOP! I need to hit the pause button and get a grip. Are you reading what I am writing here? I just read it over and I cringed. With all the terrible stuff going on in the world and in the lives of those I know and in the lives of those I may never meet . . . I am griping because my spa couldn’t be heated. Now that’s SAD!

BUT . . .

I know these sniveling complaints merely distract me from the deeper fears and worries and woes and failures right here in my own life and heart. I prefer to sulk over a lack of comfort rather than address my real issues . . . because I can’t do anything to change them. Now I know I should simply turn all this fretting over to the Lord and let Him take care of me and the situation. That would alleviate the grumpiness building in my heart, but it doesn’t happen when I hang onto it. Lately, I’ve been hanging onto the little gripes and ruining goodly parts of each day. Why? It just happens sometimes, I guess. Regardless of why, I needed to switch gears . . .

Last night Gary took me out to dinner and then we sat down to watch Mamma Mia. I hadn’t rushed to see it when it came out despite the rave reviews, because I’d also heard some warnings of moral failure in the film. Hmmmmm . . . last night I decided to take a $2.50 chance and give it a go. With my twirly azure-blue print skirt topped by a white peasanty blouse, and full knowledge of the ABBA catalog of lyrics, I felt like a member of the chorus as I sang and danced my way through the frothy, colorful bit of nonsense that made me laugh out loud and shed a tear. Without the confession/forgiveness between mother and daughter I may have found it severely lacking, but that salvaged the earlier foibles somewhat and I enjoyed the party. Did Pierce Brosnan’s singing make me cringe? Yes, a wee bit, but the sweetness of his courage to belt it out in love touched me, for I married a man who can only carry a tune in a bucket. (Once long-long ago as a shy young suitor he sang sweetly to me. It was truly awful . . . and I loved every minute of it!)

As the mom laments over how quickly the daughter has grown up, my daughter Elizabeth turned to me and said, “Does it really go that fast mom?”

I stopped . . . a tear welled up . . .

"You can’t believe how fast it goes,” I choked up in reply.

I realized that it has gone far too quickly even for a mamma that chose to stay home each day to raise her children and keep her home. I used to joke, on those most tiring days, that I wished for a cryogenic chamber to pop my Littles into so that they would stop growing temporarily while I rested, thus I wouldn’t miss a bit of their precious growing years while I recovered from the day-to-day dose of living with them constantly. Sometimes, I confess, I wish I could freeze the blogdom so that I could keep up with all of you and your wonderful lives without losing track of all I have and do and experience here in my own life. Of late I just can’t make it around to everyone in a timely fashion (and some of you share so much and so frequently!), and I must just accept that. Just as I must accept all these little and BIG blots in my “Fairytale” life.

I admit I love my life and its road to Happily-Ever-After . . . even on those days when the Ogres roar and the slimy bogs sing with danger. So, will I ever learn to merely pass by the singing bog of *blech* without stopping by to orchestrate the song and tidy up the details before I journey on? My great-grandmother always said, “Let go and let God” (I think she learned that from attending al-anon meetings to help her alcoholic sons). Today I shall attempt again to let go the gripes and enjoy the joy.

As I cruise around the blogdom I find such sweetness and kindred feelings as each one of you opens your perfectly imperfect life up for a little visit. Your words encourage me, uplift me, touch me, call me to prayer, and beckon me to let go the ropes of slog and join in the celebration of life lived in the Palm of a Loving God who doesn’t expect us to be perfect. (In fact, He already knew how imperfect we would be and made plans accordingly.)

I dedicate this picture of two perfectly imperfect roses from my garden to all of you, my precious bloggy friends. When I took this picture I thought, “There’s a fine picture of friendship – full of holes yet exuding the most delicious aroma (maybe even becoming more aromatic due to the extra ventilation)."

Thank you, dear friends, for the gifts so sweet I find waiting for me at each of your blogsites.


Lydia just returned from a visit to the family practitioner who believes that the infection stems from a spider bite gone bad. (Dare I mention that when we visited the first doctor I offered that we believed it to be a spider bite?)

Oh well, I'm dedicating this day to celebrating my perfectly imperfect life; and so I will forgive the "imperfect" diagnosis and celebrate that our daughter's leg heals "perfectly" well despite it all.

Now, I'm off to the gardens for more sweetness . . .


Linda said...

Your life sounds so typical of all of our lives. Why do we look at the bad instead of the good?

Anyway, I'm glad you blog, because you write about 'our' lives so well!

I'm glad your Lydia is on the mend.

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flea said...

I'm sorry, but I cringed every time Pierce Brosnan opened his mouth the sing. It was horrid. The movie was delightful, but the morals drove me insane. :) *sigh*

Thank you for sharing your imperfect life with us. Your fairy tale cottage is wonderful to peek into, but it's nice to hear the ups AND the downs. :) I love both!

Tricia said...

The grass always seems greener in our neighbor's yard. And we don't tend to notice the weeds or thorns among their flowers, either. You know this well. People sometimes forget. When others think I have a fairy tale life, I just smile and nod my head to whatever they are saying. And pray that God blesses them with the ability to see beyond their own fence. I am sorry to hear so many grumpy things have happened lately and pray for health for you and yours. God bless you as you continue to focus on His goodness.

Sharon said...

What a wonderfully honest post dear friend.I love you and your blog.Blessings~Sharon

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

I think it takes courage to blog about life as it truly is sometimes. I know it is hard for me. When I started my blog, it was an exercise in gratefulness and looking at things positively, but I think there comes a time when you have to take off the rose colored glasses (even if just for a moment), and say this is my life warts and all. If we just floated through life, we would not learn all the lessons that God brings into our lives. And how superficial would that be? Thank your for your honest post and for being you! God uses us to uplift one another. May you be lifted up on angels wings today!

Prairie Chick said...

oh dear friend, life gets messy, sending a pleasant spray to wash that mud away, and praying the sun shines on you today.

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

Whew--I am so glad it is not MRSA! I have my own opinions of doctors today and I will spare you having to read it...

I loved reading this post, thank you again for your lovely writing!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Perfectly imperfect life, but perfect post. It feels like I just sat down at the table and had a nice catch up chat :-)

I'm fuming over that new patient garbage though and imagine if I was there, I'd be making a scene on your behalf.

(and yes, serious cringing over Pierce, but as usual, Colin Firth charmed me (I HATED that they made Mr. Darcy gay--that was just wrong).

Karen Deborah said...

You don't even want me to START talking about doctors health care and the mess it is in and getting uglier by the minute. Maybe we should all begin to research home remedies and quickly.

No one this side of heaven has a fairy tale life. We all have troubles. You just showed a lot of courage sharing some. Which gives a lot of credibility to the example that you set to CHOSE joy.

You celebrate life, God family and friends amidst the slog and blech that we all face, and it is a light that shines brightly. You encourage me more often than you know.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Your talking about your hubby made me smile. My husband and I are TOTALLY different. Even though I'm very frugal, he thinks I don't understand how bad the finances are at times because I'm the one who shrugs and says it will all work out.

I think it has a lot to do with our basic personalities. He's much more intense about everything than I am.

I am always having to remind myself that "this isn't Heaven, yet". Now that is an understatement. :)

scrappy quilter said...

You have such a beautiful way with words. It encourages me to know there are others who don't have fairy tale lives. I think we all need to celebrate our imperfect lives way more often. Hugs..

gail said...

I love your honesty. Such a sweet lady.

Blessings Gail

Ruth MacC said...

lol, thanks for the flowers, second bunch I got this week:0)

I saw the movie with a friend. There was some rubbish in it but what disturbed me the most was the power the music had over meein the days after it. I used to be married to a musician and spent a lot of time listning to worldly music and when God saved me I had to make myself stop singing worldly songs because of the memories atached to them. After watching that movie I had those songs in my head for quite a while. We all struggle with different things and this wasn't worth it to me.

People who are lost have many problems because they are prisoners to sinful patterns, drinking, stealing, gossip the list goes on. Poeple who are converted have many problems because we fight against the world, the devil and our old natures, AND then the Bible says that if people rejected Jesus and we are like Him, then people will reject us.

I look at life as a win/win situation... When bad happens God uses it for our good and His glory, when good happens, well thats good!!!

Happy 4th of July whatever you are doing.