Far From Perfection

Christmas Tree

So Jim tells me the emergency room (where he works) has been swamped the last couple of days with all kinds of non urgent cases. I wonder if it’s the stress of the holidays and maybe the dis-EASE born of pressure, overspending, and overeating that most of us are not even aware of. Plus it’s a full moon. Always a factor for consideration.

Used to be I could never get Christmas quite perfect enough. There would always be some small thing I was unhappy about- my own presents, not enough money for everything- you name it and there in would lay my dis-ease. Over the years, I’ve had to get over myself and my quest for perfection in everything. It’s just too much work.

When I was in the big throes of menopause a few years ago, I honestly wanted to check into the Hyatt during the days of Christmas. My responsibilities (or my perception of them) so overwhelmed me I didn’t know how I was going to get through it all. I didn’t want to take medication; I wanted to figure out how to manage without a meltdown. I did it and I have my family to thank for it.

I divided up food obligations and asked for help. We ate out a couple of times or ordered pizza when I wasn’t up to cooking. We rolled up in old blankets on the couch instead of matching sheets and comforters. I got through those hot flashes by easing myself into a humbler, less complicated existence.

Also important is my conclusion that God loves me no matter my flaws. My failed dessert, my dusty house, my occasional impatient words to my husband or kids- thank goodness I am forgiven all of it. I am not unique in the sense of my suffering and the sooner I get over that, the better off I am.

My holidays are not entirely stress free now but they are much better. Years ago I saw a close friend of mine react so calmly in the face of a hostess calamity. She had been through the death of her husband only a few years before. We were outside in her yard and a huge table filled with potluck dishes decided then and there that it wasn’t equipped to handle such a load. Down that table came, crashing to the ground and with it, all those donations of salad and dessert. I watched as my friend calmly finished what she was doing (at the other end of the yard) and allowed her friends to grab and handle the mess. What an example she set for me.

People who have been through the wringer emotionally, financially and otherwise, can sometimes achieve a level of acceptance and serenity about life that serves as an example to the rest of us. Allowing myself the opportunity to work through the great pain and dis-ease of wanting perfection but falling far from it, is the best gift I can give myself.

How are you handling the pressure this holiday season? What have you let yourself off the hook for?

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18 thoughts on “Far From Perfection

  1. Gallivanta

    Glad you mentioned the Full Moon……it’s pretty but it always seems to make us a little crazier than usual. I struggle with wanting the Perfect too. It isn’t going to happen this Christmas or any other in my house; I have to learn to make do, which is probably exactly what happened on that very first Christmas. Your tree (trees?) look beautiful. May your Christmas be blessed with family and love.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Jamis Cain

      I agree. That is probably what happened on the very first Christmas! Thank you for saying that!
      The tree is from last Christmas at our family gathering. Thought it was a beautiful one…
      May you also be blessed with a wonderful Christmas!
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  2. randee

    You are so right that “being through the wringer” helps us to relax some and just embrace simplicity. I went through the wringer about five years ago and since then have learned to enjoy the holidays in a whole new way. And luckily it happened early enough that I can model to my teenage daughters that they do not have to do it all and do it to perfection, that they can make the holidays what they want them to be. I sometimes feel sorry, now, for my friends who haven’t been through the wringer and still have to deal with the stress and expectations of perfection. I pray for them.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Jamis Cain

      Hi Randee, your words are lovely and I agree. If friends have not been through the wringer, they often times go for the perfection. I’ve been through a few difficult periods and it does make my joy so much more real over the simple things.
      Many thanks for stopping by and a happy holiday season to you!

      Reply
  3. cindy

    Hi Joanne, beautiful Christmas tree display and inspiring post to follow. As wives, moms, daughters, & grandmas, I believe we feel a bit responsible to make sure everthing goes “well” ( don’t want to use the word perfect) & that our families enjoy the blessings of Christmas! I think that is just part of how we love. The aging process & life experiences have taught me lessons about acceptance, & what I have no control over. To see a smile and a positive attitude on a face of someone who has been through the wringer is a lesson in humility for me. I pray that everyone struggling this Christmas, at some time, would feel Jesus in their heart. Would’t that be a beautiful gift? Blessings to you and your family! I am sure this will be a special Christmas to enjoy with your mom!♥♥♥

    Reply
    1. Joanne Jamis Cain

      H Cindy! Yes, it is a special season with my mom. I am so grateful she is with us and I will cherish this holiday more than ever.
      You are so right, that as a grandma and mother I do want to put my best foot forward. However, I do want my kids to feel “Human” and to err is human!
      Thank you for stopping by! A Merry Christmas to you and your family!
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  4. Linda Blaydes

    Dear Jo. I am not stressed out at all this Christmas. My wonderful husband does not expect a thing from me. I have made cookies and threw out the burnt ones. Just made another batch. I still have a few recipies to make but if I get to them okay. if not I can always make them after Christmas. I am not perfect and I do not even try to be any more. I know the Lord is my Savoir and if I do not want to do any thing for a day. That is okay too. I wish you all a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New year. Love Linda xxxx oooo

    Reply
    1. Joanne Jamis Cain

      Hi Linda,
      I am so glad you are not stressed. It is a blessing that you and your sweet husband are together- I am so happy for you!
      I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
      Love, Jo

      Reply
  5. Marianne

    You said it right on, Joanne!! Wonderful post. You know, with the job at the store these past years, and helping customers get ready for their holidays, I’ve not been able to pay much attention to my own. I’m blessed if I get a couple batches of cookies made, or a pumpkin pie, a few decorations up. I’ll admit that it’s bothered me quite a bit, but even so, I insist on enjoying the holidays with whatever energy is left over. I’ve always loved them, and I try to keep in mind the real reason for all of these holidays…Love, family, and peace. Wisdom really does come with age, doesn’t it…

    Merry Christmas, dear friend, and may 2014 be full of good health, joy, creativity, prosperity, and Love.

    Marianne xo

    Reply
    1. Joanne Jamis Cain

      Marianne, I started a part time job a few weeks ago- seasonal, in retail- just for some extra holiday money. I have to tell you, I have a renewed respect for people who work in retail. Not much money for back breaking work. It’s been years since I worked retail for the holiday. Truly, I love meeting so many nice people but the work is grueling and quite stressful the closer to the holiday it gets.
      Wisdom does come with age and I am grateful to be able to embrace imperfection and not get all fluffed about it like I used to.
      Merry Christmas!!
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  6. Cathy McElhaney

    I am praying for a peaceful drama free holiday…but that is doubtful with my situation! There has already been a bit of drama, but you would be proud of me for putting my foot down and absolutely not allowing the other grandmother to have the kids overnight on Christmas eve. I have told my son and daughter in law that I have made my decision and that is that.
    I am stressed that I don’t have a gift for my wonderful husband and no idea what to get. The bank account says I am done shopping :(..but it’s all about the kids and they will have a good Christmas.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Jamis Cain

      I am proud of you that you are putting your foot down. That is awesome!
      Sometimes, when I’ve been really broke, I win something that is perfect for me or to use as a gift. Perhaps that may happen. If not, maybe a date night after the holidays could be a good option. Blessings to you Cathy! for a wonderful Christmas!
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  7. Marylin Warner

    Joanne, I love the way you describe it, the dis-ease we experience…so real and vivid. And once we understand what we’re experiencing, we’re a step closer to healing.
    And the Full Moon–oh, yeah–just ask my son-in-law police officer!
    Happy New Year in a few days!

    Reply

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