Yesterday was the reason people live in South Florida. The skies were a cloudless blue. Humidity was low and the temperature never got above a pleasant 80*. It was perfect. It’s January and this is our winter.
My freshman English teacher assigned us to write how we envisioned the world. I don’t remember the words I wrote only her comments written in red on the top of my paper. I wrote my vision of a perfect world and she wrote “how boring” that would be.
She didn’t know my parents had divorced earlier that year and that my dad took my younger brother and moved to another state. She didn’t know mom and I also moved and were living far from family. She didn’t know my perfect world had been turned upside down.
How could there be a problem with perfect? If it were boring it wouldn’t be perfect. How did my teacher not get that?
In the years since I’ve learned a lot about perfection and perspective. I know that most of our days are average and ordinary. They are doing the mundane things that must be done. We’re buying groceries and preparing meals. We’re doing laundry and washing dishes, sitting in meetings and standing in lines. We’re fighting traffic in our daily commute while trying to remember everything on our to-do list for the day.
If we’re honest, on the days nothing breaks down they are perfect. And perhaps, some would say, boring.
So what is perfect? Is it blue skies and 80* in winter?
If I could, I’d live somewhere else July – September. The humidity is stifling and temperatures rarely get below 77. Heat + humidity = feels like in the 90’s. Every day, month after muggy month.
But we stay because we love palm trees and the close proximity to the ocean. We know the promise of winter. The same reasons some stay through snowy winters. They know the promise of summer.
Perfect is personal. That’s what my teacher didn’t understand.
When my parents divorced I still went to school, mom and I still went to church. We did all the same things but it wasn’t the same. What was ordinary before now looked perfect. Obviously it wasn’t for my parents but it was for my 13 year old self.
It would seem the route to perfection is through hard times. Through times that aren’t comfortable. The prettiest roses I’ve seen grow in climates with cold, snowy winters.
The weather is simply an analogy for how it is in life. It helps me see that a day of doing all the things can be perfect, if not spectacular.