“The Hallmark Restaurant?” a friend looked at me, confused. Apparently, he had misheard my reference to a local eatery, but his misunderstanding got me thinking.
“Wouldn’t that be something? Every meal would be the best you’d ever had. Every person in the restaurant would look beautiful – and perfect.”
We laughed as our conversation continued on to another topic, knowing just how impossible it would be to create a perfect restaurant that would please our individual palettes. There is no such thing as perfect.
In last week’s episode of Chesapeake Shores, Kevin researched, planned, and attempted – multiple times – to execute the perfect proposal. When Jess looked him directly in the eyes and said, “You don’t need perfect…because you already have each other,” she hit a tender mark in Kevin’s heart.
Later, Kevin attempted to change a flat tire on the drive home from Tanglewood. Sarah stood in the distance, observing the gorgeous display of colors across the sky as the sun set. Seeing the love of his life drinking in the view transformed a generally irritating task into the spark that moved Kevin to finally get down on one knee and pop the question. The love between the two made the moment perfect.
Twelve years ago, my husband also got down on one knee for me. I had planned, with his help, a day hike at a nearby state park. After picking up coffee and pastries for breakfast, we parked the car and began that easy hike along the Yuba River. Starting at the Bridgeport Covered Bridge, built in 1862, we wound our way up the hill to a grove of oak trees at the top. Our trek was made even slower as I stopped every 2 minutes to take pictures of the wildflowers that graced the hillside. Once in the grove of oaks, we found a small clearing for setting up our picnic. About halfway through our meal, my then-boyfriend knelt next to me and held out his palm, a sparkling diamond ring in the center. His hand trembled so that the diamond shimmered.
“Will you marry me?” he asked, his voice cracking and shaking.
“Of course!” I said – well, I think that is how I responded. My stomach was in knots, and I needed to find a restroom. Fast.
He slid the ring on my finger, kissed me, and I blurted out something like, “I really need to go to the bathroom.” I took off running, as fast I could, down the twisting path. I left my confused fiance packing up the food and folding the blanket.
Minutes later, he met me at the bottom of the hill as I emerged from the Visitor’s Center restroom. He smiled with relief to see me smile..
“Are you okay? Is everything okay?”
“Yes. Everything is fine. I really needed to go to the bathroom.”
We burst out laughing, and we still joke about my imperfect response to his proposal. Whenever friends ask about how he popped the question, we explain that he asked, and I ran away!
It is the imperfection, the spontaneity of being our real selves that made the moment one we cherish. Sure, we planned a hike and a picnic that were romantic, but the evidence of his nervousness and my need to relieve myself make the proposal uniquely ours.
As we grow up, we often lose ourselves in trying to rise to others’ expectations, achieve others’ dreams and desires for us, or delude ourselves with ideas of perfection. The thing is, whether of another’s design or our own fabrication, most of our visions, past and future, are “made up.” We gloss over mistakes. We ignore the failures. We play down the immaturities.
“I need to go back to who I used to be for a little while,” Abby confided in Connor, as she struggled to reconcile Trace’s return home. Connor responded, “I want to go back to the old me, too, but I left him in Baltimore.”
The old you is gone – but the real you is still there, buried under layers of expectations. The key is to find the real you and work to be your honest and imperfect self within the present challenge. Take what you have learned from being the “old you” and realize that being who you are created to be is God’s idea of perfection. And that is the only “perfect” that exists.