Thursday my neighbor dropped by unexpectedly to touch base about a possible future hair appointment. It was around 12:30pm. The boys were at school, I wasn’t working at the salon, and so I decided to devote the first part of the day to editing photos and the last couple hours to cleaning the house before school ended. In other words, I was in sweatpants, braless, and my house was a nightmare. My teeth may or may not have been brushed before I dropped the boys off at school as a courtesy to other parents. So, I gave her the lovely welcome anyone would hope for when dropping by a friend’s house.
“Oh my gosh! My house! I’m not wearing a bra! I swear it’s not always like this! Ugh! I was literally just thinking this morning. ‘if anyone stopped by with my house in this state I might actually die.’”
You know, because these are the warm welcoming things we hope to hear when we knock on a friend’s door. After she left I ran into the bathroom to see how bad the damage really was. I smiled. There was a black bean covering one of my front teeth from the veggie burger I had eaten while sitting at the computer right before she arrived.
“Are you bleeping kidding me?” I asked the strange woman who appeared to be missing a tooth in the mirror.
But since then I’ve come to the conclusion that I would actually LOVE to have a friend open the door to me braless with a messy house and a bean covering one of her teeth. Not because I revel in the misfortune of others, or at least I hope I don’t, but because the way I see it, these less-than-perfect moments we have are signs of Life. Not the scripted life we dream of that keeps us from reveling in joy of the moment, but funny, real, authentic living.
Still, as many Pezma Chondron (insert your own favorite spiritual/self help/life advisor here) books I read, and as much as I know beyond a doubt that our weird desire for outward perfection is a big, hyper-realistic illusion, I cling to the secret belief that if my purse did not contain a ziplock bag of dust that once upon a time was actually a bag of saltine crackers, I would finally be able to reach total enlightenment.
Despite the messy purse keeping me from enlightenment and all the rest of the current chaos involved trying to juggle two jobs and a family, I’m actually feeling pretty alive these days. I’m sure it’s partly from pursuing a longstanding passion, but I also think in part because the busyness factor has forced me to loosen my grip on the drive for perfection- a happy byproduct of the crazy pace that life has been going at these last couple months. Releasing some of that desire for control has had me questioning where else in my life I might be able to loosen the grip a little and ride that glorious wave of imperfection into the present moment.
My neighbor is pretty awesome, and I know for a fact she’s not passing any judgment on my wardrobe choices or toy-scattered living room- so next time she stops by I will give her a big, warm, welcome-y hug, invite her graciously to sit at my dining room table amidst a few piles of unread mail and maybe some dishes in the sink, and enjoy the moment completely. Just maybe minus the bean thing…