I’ve begun to wonder if we’re sometimes given perfect moments on earth, perfect summers, perfect days, perfect friendships to give us a glimpse of what heaven was like.  Times we wish, hope, and cling to a fierce belief that if we just held on tight enough, things wouldn’t change.

I remember a summer when I didn’t want things to change.  I had a good job, wonderful friends, someplace to go and people to be with every weekend.  I had my family, I had friends, and I was loved.  An imperfect world momentarily paused by perfect moments.  I hoped it would never end….

We lose something important, something vital when we’re so hurried.

Early this year, Texas forced me to stand still for two days because of an ice storm that gripped much of the south.  We were not able to leave our driveway for days.  Part of me began to get a little stir-crazy.  But part of me also enjoyed the forced change of pace.  It was quiet.  The loudest thing we heard in those few quiet days were the neighborhood children sliding around the ice covered ground, living their perfect moments in an winter wonderland.  A rare treat for the south.

And as I sit here now, 13ish years beyond that perfect summer, I know that I cannot remember that summer without remembering what came next.  Without remembering the heartache, the numbing loneliness, the thoughts of suicide.  The perfect summer lead into 10 years that rocked my world, reshaped my world view and altered the very fabric of who I was.

I no longer see myself as the person, the boy I was at 21.  I don’t have the childlike heart, the innocent exuberance or the trusting nature I had then.  I worry more, I fear more.  I’m scarred, stitched together scraps that don’t fit exactly the way they should.  A puzzle with pieces missing, an incomplete picture.

I feel like a three legged table.

I may never have another summer like I did when I was 21, but I’ve learned that perfection is overrated.  My friends, my family weren’t perfect, I wasn’t perfect.  My imperfect view of an imperfect world lied to me.  Things were not perfect.  And they never will be.

We cannot live our lives looking for perfection, because if we do, we will miss the opportunities to freeze our butts off while sliding around an ice covered street in Texas, we will miss the chances to dance with our spouses in the kitchen, to play in the rain or get lost in a song.  If we hurry through life searching for those perfect moments, we will miss the beauty that already exists in our imperfect lives, our imperfect relationships, and our imperfect families.

I look back on that boy of 21, of the years between, and I have to remind myself that this story isn’t finished.

Tables can be repaired, tears can be mended, puzzles can be completed, and fears can be faced.

I no longer look for perfect situations.  I’m beginning to see the beauty in the imperfect.  And I will keep dancing with my wife in the kitchen and kissing her in the moonlight. No, life may not be perfect, but getting up at 2am to watch a lunar eclipse together is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I don’t have perfect, I have something better. I have life. And I’ll hold onto that with all I am.

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