Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Pursuit of Imperfections

We embarked on a journey to IKEA for new furniture. This wasn’t our first trip to the blue and yellow warehouse, so we knew what we were up against: pushing around multiple carts of cardboard-wrapped bundles followed by traumatic self-assembly of said bundles into furniture via cryptic instructions.

First time, shame on you.  Second time, shame on me.  Something about putting together a dresser from three flat packages of stained pine brings out your true self.  Beyond your ineptitude at solving puzzles, it reveals how patient and understanding you really are.

What happened?  We had our goods delivered on a Tuesday.  By the time D got home from work, I was already working on the frame of the dresser, so he proceeded with the task of constructing all the drawers.  Things were going slowly, but we were making progress.  One hour later, we were almost there – all that was left was to nail the back panel to the dresser and insert the drawers.  As I was nailing the panel, I noticed that it was more difficult than I expected and asked my husband to finish.  Many things were odd – he was having a hard time as well, not to mention the nails were going poking out the other end of the wood.  I know, I know, all signs point to “STOP!” but maybe our lack of dinner was getting the best of us.

Finally, all nails in place, we proceeded to insert the drawers only to find that they would not fit. 

“Did we put the tracks on correctly?”  I asked.

“Yep, they are on right.” He replied.

We pondered. We sighed.

“I know what’s wrong,” I said.  I felt the frustration swell, the anger build.  Tears started to fall.  “I put the panel on the FRONT of the dresser, not the BACK.”

A moment of silence.

He started, “How about you go ahead and get dinner going and I’ll start pulling out nails.”

“No, I made this mess and I’ll fix it.” 

He sighed and we started to undo the error.  He remained calm and showed no signs of anger (although I’m sure he was), while I threw a little temper tantrum.  I even hurt my thumb trying to remove those nails.  Finally, I gave up and started dinner.  Twenty minutes later, he finished and we sat down to eat.

During our meal, my caring husband said, “There’s a lesson in this somewhere.  Let’s hope we figure it out.”  (That's one wise man.)

The next day, I finished nailing the panel on the correct side (it was much easier this time), put in the drawers and looked in horror.  There were all these little nail holes on the entire perimeter of the dresser front.  

The inadvertently distressed dresser.  D says it adds character.

In my mind, I wanted it to be perfect, but in reality, it wasn’t.  I shared the story with my sister and she immediately suggested ways to patch the holes and paint them to blend with the rest of the wood.  (Thanks, sis, for not laughing.)  It was then that I realized what I was supposed to learn.

My lesson: nothing is "perfect".  We all live with imperfections.  Little holes poked into our armor.  Cracks formed under pressure.  Scratches left from frustration.  Wrinkles from a life lived.   It’s okay, perhaps even better, when things aren’t perfect.  That’s when character is formed, cured, and sharpened.  So, instead of working hard to patch up the holes, I’m going let those imperfections be reminders of my lesson learned (at least for now anyway) and build some character instead.  These imperfections will help me remember that indeed I’m perfectly, wonderfully made in the eyes of God.

The silver lining out of all of this:  I know my husband truly loves me and knows how to deal with me ever so gently.  He’s definitely more patient and understanding than I am!  Also, from now on we will hire someone to assemble any of our dressers or nightstands, for sanity’s sake.

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