the perfect life

“Mom, when I grow up, I’m going to have the perfect life.”

So said my almost-six-year-old yesterday afternoon.

She went on to describe the perfect Aspen trees she’d climb, the horses she’d ride. And I lost track of her detailed perfection as I looked around at the toys strewn all over the floor, her mis-matched outfit and runny nose.

I paused before replying. She sounds just like I did at that age, or a little older.

I had the perfect life. Or so I thought. Until something happened in my extended family and shattered my perfect family image.

I spent my teen years reaching for that elusive bit of a perfect life that I could control. Perfect rules. Perfect standards. Perfect relationships. And I knew that when I grew up, I’d have the perfect children, the perfect home, the perfect schedule.

But here I was, in the middle of a far from perfect home, staring at the oldest of those anything but perfect children. Listening to her version of perfection. So like mine was (and too often is). So based on externals.

I pointed her to the toys on the floor, asking her to help perfect the little spot she was in now. And I tried to explain to her that our reality often differs from our dreams. That life is far from perfect. That perfection won’t make us happy.

But if earth was perfect, we wouldn’t long for Heaven. If we didn’t miss the mark, we wouldn’t need the Cross. If our lives were perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior.

Thank God that we don’t have the perfect life.

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6 Comments

  1. Yes, when I was little, I used to say that I was going to have it “all together” or that I would have the “most organized” such and such. My life is far from perfect, and I have everything but all together. I look forward to the day when things will be perfect for real. Yes, our reality does differ from our dreams. When I was about Ruth’s age, I had all these things that I wanted to do, and that I knew exactly who I wanted to be and such. However, all those other things have faded to the far back corner of my mind. My main dream was to be a writer, but my life now consists of co teaching children the gospel and singing for the elderly. Of course, I wouldn’t trade the life I have now for anything else.
    Blessings!
    Bethany

  2. Thank you so much for this post, Gretchen. It’s a beautiful beginning to an imperfect day. I especially like your conclusion …

    “But if earth was perfect, we wouldn’t long for Heaven. If we didn’t miss the mark, we wouldn’t need the Cross. If our lives were perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior.”

    Yes and amen.

  3. *tears* if we didn’t miss the mark, we wouldn’t need the Cross.

    I used to whisper at night in my newly-wed husband’s ear: we have a perfect life. And it was. But only as perfect as in Shadowlands can be.

    The older I get (and I’m not very old) the more I long for true perfection. But not yet. I have souls I need to bring.

    How well written.