A few weeks ago, I attended a birthday party with one of my children. Everything about the day had been a little bit crazy. It wasn’t until I received a text from another mom in the class that I even knew about the party. My child had failed to mention when he received the invitation at school two weeks prior. After a whirlwind of text messages, a conversation about the importance of celebrating with friends and sending RSVP’s, an apology to the birthday child’s mom (her response was very gracious and she said her son would be thrilled if we could still attend), and a frantic trip to Target, we had just enough time to get to the party right as it started. Despite my initial embarrassment, I was pleased with the way things had turned out, and satisfied that, despite the last-minute rush, we showed up at the party right on time. In fact, I was pretty proud that we pulled it together so quickly.
That was until we walked in the door and everyone took off their shoes.
Then I remembered I was wearing mismatched socks.
We left our house early that morning to head to a conference and I just grabbed the last two socks that happened to be clean in my drawer. ( I try to my best to be put together, but this is real life. At least they were clean.) I never thought I would be taking off my shoes that afternoon. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself, because of course my socks didn’t match, and I just had to let it go. But I was reminded of three important things that day.
Life will never be perfect, and neither will I.
We live in a fallen world that is full of troubles. We can strive for perfection all we want, but it will never be achieved. At some point, we all make mistakes and we have to give ourselves grace and move on. As a recovering perfectionist, I have to remind myself of this all the time. It’s a good thing to do our best and work hard, but perfectionism can really get in the way of joy if we aren’t careful.
There has only been one person who has ever walked this earth who was perfect, and that is not me. So I will never be perfect. And that’s OK. There is grace enough to help me to do the best I can do. And sometimes the best I can do will be mismatched socks.
Most people don’t notice.
When I first saw the socks, I joked to a few people at the party about them not matching. (Because, why not draw more attention to something that is already embarrassing?) If I hadn’t said anything, it’s likely that no one would have noticed. And if they did, they probably would not have cared. There have been so many times I have been so caught up in the way I wanted things to go that I have lost sight of what was really important. Every little detail had to be just so, and I would get so frustrated if it wasn’t. Then, at the end of the day, I was the only one who even noticed. No one else would have ever paid attention. Yet, I wasted so much energy allowing myself to worry about things that weren’t all that important.
Sometimes There Is Beauty in Imperfection.
The few people who did comment on my socks thought the mismatch was intentional. One mom even said, “the colors go so well together.” And that made me think about the beauty we can find when we embrace imperfection. More often than not, things don’t go according to plan, but sometimes the result is more interesting or better than what we would have chosen. Or, at the least our imperfect plans end with a great story. The more I learn to embrace imperfection, the more I find the beauty in it. Imperfection is real. It is authentic. It is approachable. It’s life.
As we were leaving the party, my son said it was one of the best days he had ever had. He didn’t care about whether things had gone according to plan, and he certainly didn’t care about my mismatched socks. He celebrated with his friends, and they had a wonderful time. That was what mattered.
So, I am thankful for mismatched socks. And I am thankful for the reminder that I’m not perfect, and neither is anyone else. And there’s enough grace for all of us. In fact, I may wear the mismatched socks again. I do have several other pairs.