I was totally entranced and barely conscious of my friend’s apologies for the weeds and the neglected corners, for all the work that needed doing and the unfinished projects.
It struck me as we returned to the house that we’d both walked the same path, seen the same garden, but with very different eyes. We all do that don’t we, view things through the lens of shame. We are far more conscious of the dust on the shelf than the way the light shines through the window and highlights the beauty of the books.
The irony of it all is that shame is our judgement of ourselves. When I have the courage to welcome my friends into whatever muddle might be around me at the time, they don’t seem to even notice the dust on the shelf or the untidy corners, in fact its quite the opposite. Sometimes I get to glimpse my house or garden through someone else’s eyes and it always takes me by surprise. There’s that wonderful warm feeling of “Wow! I hadn’t seen it like that”. I’ve been so busy noticing all I haven’t done that I’ve totally missed enjoying what I have achieved. Somehow their way of seeing clears my vision too.
I can look beyond the dust and enjoy all that I have with new appreciation and fresh gratitude. I’ve spent a good deal of my life chasing perfection and the latter part of my life realising it doesn’t exist, that we are all a little chipped and dented in a gloriously humbling sort of way … that of shared humanity … the universality of imperfection.
How many of those glimpses of beauty and wonder have I already missed?
Every day I’m surrounded by them … sunrises and sunsets, the fragrance of a single gardenia on my windowsill, treasures that remind me of the giver and their love, and that ray of sunlight on my favourite books. I don’t want to miss any of them. I want to choose friendship over tidiness. I want to invite people into my life without excuses and most of all I want to make space in every day to notice and capture the glimpses of sheer joy around me and I want to be able to value the chips and dents that have made me who I am.