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Moments of Imperfection

September 14, 2010

Today, during a chat with a really good friend, I started thinking about my wedding day. Here’s an occasion where we spend so much time trying to get it “just right.” Making sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. The dress, flowers, food, guest list, thank you gifts. There are so many details and we spend hours working on them.

It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity after all. (If you’re really lucky.)

The thing is, when I think about my wedding day, here are three details I remember:

1. We got married under a chuppah which is a Jewish wedding canopy. It has four poles. They were held up by Jake’s two brothers, his cousin and my brother in law. In the middle of our ceremony, each of them was scheduled to say a few words explaining the significance of the chuppah. When it was Jake’s middle brother’s turn, he forgot his lines. He was in the middle of a sentence and then he stopped. A few seconds later (just as I whispered, it’s ok.) he went on as if I never forgot them in the first place.

2. As the rabbi talked, Jake’s youngest brother, who was standing to my left, sniffed so loudly that I couldn’t hear the rabbi. He did it several times and I was getting annoyed. When I finally looked over at him, I realized he was crying. A lot.

3. Before we walked down the aisle, my sister’s 3-year-old twin boys walked down and one of them was holding a basket of petals that he was supposed to scatter along the path. When he got to the beginning, my sister said, “Ok now” and he turned the whole basket upside down, dumping all the petals in that one spot.

Here’s what these three events have in common: they were all mess-ups, they all made me (and others) laugh, and as I look back, they are the events I remember most fondly. They can still put a smile on my face eight years later.

If my wedding day is supposed to be so special, so perfect, why is it that what I remember most tenderly are the imperfect moments?

It’s because life is imperfect. It’s messy. It’s about forgetting your lines, sniffing loudly because your tears of joy (or sorrow) are so overwhelming, and doing things out of cue, messing them up. Life’s not perfect. It’s not all roses and white dresses. And when we work so hard to create the “perfect” environment, it’s like everyone’s holding their breath, trying too hard. And then someone makes a mistake and we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. We don’t have to act perfectly any more. Real life has seeped into the moment. It’s there to remind us that nothing is perfect. Moments of imperfection are just signs of life. Signs of being real.

I hope you take a moment to remember your moments of imperfection today. And remember that next time you try to create the perfect meal, house, art, job, children, event, or life. Remember that what makes them that much more wonderful is the little moments of imperfection and be grateful for them.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 4:28 pm

    That’s so perfectly stated (oh look, I said “perfectly”, not imperfectly!). Thanks for the food for thought. It should make it easier for me to be more kind to myself.

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