My only attempt at playing a musical instrument was mercifully cut short by my parents. I am not sure if it was because I was more prone to recreating the mafia with my violin case than actually practicing the instrument it housed. Or they were overly concerned about the number of times my violin fell down the staircase at school as I ran to music lessons. Or, as far as my sisters were concerned, it was without a doubt, my horrific screeching rendition of “We Gather Together” that I insisted playing for the family one Thanksgiving Day.
That remains my first and last piece I played on the violin.
A little—or in my case, a lot—of imperfections can go a long way. My imperfect violin performance paved the way to other creative pursuits that I enjoyed more and was actually good at. Not perfect, mind you, since pencils have erasers and keyboards have delete keys.
And while I am on a roll about my imperfections, I might as well confess to not being a perfectionist in the domestic arts, but even that paid off in a way I never saw coming.
Whenever the native Californian I’m married to and I would visit his home state, we would spend time with one of his good friends and his wife. We met at restaurants or Knott’s Berry Farm, but never at their home. A little strange, but it was California after all.
Then these same friends made a quick stopover in Chicago and called to ask if they could spend a couple of nights with us. Of course, we told them, well aware that the spare room was long overdue for organization. We had a great time with our friends, who survived the disorganization.
On our next visit to California, we connected with our friends, and this time, they said to spend the night. When we walked inside their California ranch, it was our disorganized spare room fifty times over. You know what? We survived. Actually, we thrived as we enjoyed conversation and laughter. We loved one another and the room we were in honestly didn't matter.
Later my husband told me that his friend said we were the first people ever to stay overnight in their home. His wife was too ashamed of what people would say about her home. She didn’t want to face their judgment over the clutter and disorganization.
But why us, I wanted to know. Guess what? It was our imperfect spare room that did it. We wouldn't be judging her or expecting her to measure up to perfect standards.
I am not advocating shoddy housekeeping or shoddy anything. But, I do wonder if our "striving-for-excellence-subculture" might prevent us from seeing imperfections as a grace. A grace that leads us to the perfect Savior, who forgives the spots and wrinkles and imperfections sin leaves behind in our lives.
It's especially good to remember this as we all scurry to prepare our homes for the Thanksgiving feast ahead. Let's look first at the hearts of the people we're with, not the beauty of their homes and tables we'll be sharing.