We are a society driven toward perfection, and what we cannot achieve we often stage via social media, airbrushes and diffused glows, or with a slight change in the tone of our voice. We have become portrayed perfectionists; and yet, we have remained perfectly imperfect.
This time of year is a trap for those who are control freaks. The stage is set, alluring all who wish to create the perfect holiday memories to take their mark and let the show begin. The only issue is other people — and possibly conflicting schedules, weather complications, recipe hiccups, car troubles, plumbing problems, wardrobe malfunctions, sleeping arrangement quandaries, financial misgivings, and the occasional pet disaster (not that I’ve had any experience with any or all the above… ahem.)
This Thanksgiving I set the mental stage that I would have my family of five together. We would celebrate with a traditional meal at a picnic table near a campfire. Yes, this year we would be camping over Thanksgiving; unplugged from technology, gathered under the stars, swapping stories and playing cards.
For several days, my daughter and husband helped to create a beautiful meal with all the fixings. We loaded it up in coolers and set out to the campgrounds. Our boys traveled from opposite directions to meet us, both coming from different universities. As we neared, I imagined the picture-perfect Christmas card showcasing our picnic table celebration.
We were thrilled to embrace our middle son when he arrived. As we unloaded and got the meal ready, we received “the” text. Our oldest son had an unforeseen scheduling conflict and would not be able to arrive until the next morning… the day after Thanksgiving. We decided to postpone the meal until everyone was together. For Thanksgiving this year, we had cheeseburgers under the stars… brilliantly good in so many ways. Not my idealistic plan, but it was perfectly imperfect.
The next day, my oldest son was expected to arrive bright and early. Another hitch. He ended up arriving late, so late that our middle son had to head back to college. They didn’t get a chance to see one another (so much for the family Christmas card). Our oldest came with a friend who is new to the states, from China. He had never had a traditional Thanksgiving meal, eaten a s’more, or splashed through a mud puddle on a 4-Wheeler. We did it all. The meal was a little soggy, but it was still very good in so many ways. Not my idealistic plan, but it was perfectly imperfect.
Thanksgiving this year was a little non-traditional; however, I have a feeling it was exactly as it should have been. In truth, I absolutely loved Thanksgiving this year. I remember the words of Jesus when he said, “…yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:31).
This holiday season may we open ourselves up to God’s will more than stay tightfisted to the script of our own expectations. And may we realize that oftentimes the best memories are found in the joy of being perfectly imperfect.
SGLY, dear readers.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chartier on Facebook: facebook.com/tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.