My late husband was kind, he would give a stranger the shirt off his back. I’ll never forget our first date when he made a quick pit stop after picking me up to give his only VCR to a friend who didn’t have one. What I remember the most about that moment was the sincere look of joy on his face as he got back in the car after giving away his precious possession. He took me on many lavish dates that I know he couldn’t afford. He had a short fuse and struggled with addiction before I met him. He had a big heart and knew how to love deeply and each morning would say, “today is going to be a good day.” He was imperfectly perfect.
Growing up I always felt the need to do better, to be perfect. I was intensely competitive so naturally I signed up for just about every sports team, school club, drama club, chorus chorale, or competitive club that life had to offer with the intent of being first, being the best. Yet, my skills didn’t always match my intent. I was often the second to last place in a race, I never made any varsity teams, always JV, I never won an award or was top of class or voted most likely to succeed by my peers. Yet, my intent of succeeding never waned and this has gotten me through and has always, made me stronger and better.
My late husband used to often say that “no one has a perfect life and if they claim so, they are lying.” He also said, “There are three sides to a story.” I think of this often and how true and wise it is to know these things. Glenn knew these things and naturally made his way through life with these two simple truths as a guidepost of sorts.
I often will think of “Glenn’s life truths,” when I’m met with roadblocks or where an answer doesn’t seem evident. There are three sides to a story, and somehow the third way appears that ends up being the solution I hadn’t thought of before. Or, when I’ve been hard on myself with negative thoughts. “How can others achieve what’s been so out of reach for me?” Then I think about the other simple truth, everyone has a story and no one has a perfect life, and I’m brought back to center. What may appear as success to me from the outside looking in may not necessarily be so. It helps me not to compare my life to others.
These are such simple truths that can help each one us as we find our way. For the bereaved, finding our way can be wrought with challenges we never imagined before. Then you add in 2020 and all that this year has meant, finding your way may seem unimaginable and out of touch. This takes me to another simple truth, shared by my 87-year-old-mother who has had the same wise advice as long as I can remember, “One foot in front of the other works.” Many, many times I’ve put one foot in front of the other while waiting for the “third side of the story,” to show up and it usually does work, not easy but it works.
As we wind down this epic year of the unexpected, 2020, I’m reminded again of the simple truths and how our internal perspective of how we view things as a success or a failure is up to each of us. When in doubt or lost, look for that “third side,” to the coin and therein you might find that little bit of perfection you’d sought. We are all imperfectly perfect.