Last weekend I went with David to pick out a Christmas tree for my house. It’s something I’ve been doing since living where I live – first with Mike, then with family and now this year with David. There is a Christmas tree farm 5 minutes down the rode from me and I love the tradition and having a fresh tree.
We walked around the Christmas tree farm and I searched and searched for my perfect tree. David would point out trees and I’d examine it and turn it down. Nope, too short. Nope, too crooked. Nope, too sparse. I would think I found a nice tree to then find something wrong with it. I wanted it to be perfect.
I finally found a tree I liked and I did (what I thought was) a thorough examination. It looked lovely! I was satisfied. We cut it down and with our two dogs in tow, we carried it back to the car and put it up in my home.
I let the branches settle for a day and then went to decorate the tree on my own. As I’m putting the lights on I start to notice all the bare spots. There’s whole sections without anything there! How did I miss that?! As I put my (light wooden) ornaments on the branches they instantly bend and wilt under the weight of it. I press the branches delicately and take note of how frail they really are. I never noticed that; they look strong! As I look at the tree from the side I start to see it is crooked.
My initial reaction is one of frustration. How could this tree that looked so wonderful in the field actually be so sad up close? This was not what I envisioned for my perfect tree!
As I put on more of my decorations and it continued to highlight the imperfections my frustration began to dissipate. I started to chuckle. Silly me thinking it would be perfect. Why would it be perfect? Why did I even want it to be? The tradition of getting a tree itself isn’t even perfect for me – I never intended to go with anyone but Mike – so why should the tree be?
The imperfect tree is actually so fitting to my life. I sometimes yearn for and pretend everything is wonderful and perfect but it is not. In certain circumstances and settings, like the tree, everything is great but when you pay more attention in another setting you know that it can’t be. I still have my bare spots. I still have the holes left from my past. Like the tree’s branches, I am upright and appear strong but under pressure and weight I can still struggle and fold. The tree is nice but it is crooked and not at all perfect.
Maybe that sounds sad but I did say I laughed and that’s because when I actually think about it, none of that actually bothers me. I like it as it is. It truly is perfect but not in a flawless way. It is perfect because it has flaws and it is still beautiful. It may not be completely straight up close but it is still standing tall. The branches may be slightly wilted under the weight but they are still holding the ornaments. Just like any other “perfect” tree would do.
Just like my perfectly imperfect life. Still standing. Still going. Still finding happiness. Still doing what I need to do, albeit a little “off” a perfect life.
I may have got caught up in wanting everything to be great. I forget sometimes that it is okay to not be. My little crooked Christmas tree was a reminder.
The lights still shine bright showing all it’s crooked, sparse wonder. It holds the ornaments with resilient strength. It is it’s own unique tree. Imperfect and glorious.