i listened one evening as my friends, jack and jan (not their real names), talked about the day that had just passed. jan said, "what a day! nothing went the way we had planned.". she continued, listing all the things that had "gone wrong."
"I thought it was a lovely day. even though it didn't go as planned, look at all the things we accomplished," jack replied, listing all the things that they had been able to do because of the changed circumstances of the day.
as I thought back on their conversation, it hit me that there are so many good, but not perfect, things in our lives. jack had seen the day as a good one, though an imperfect one; jan had seen the day as a bad one because of its imperfections. i was sitting in my chair--a good one but not a perfect one. it was a bit too narrow, but it supported me well. the back was at just the right angle to cradle my lower back that often hurts, and the seat was at the right height. all in all, it was a good chair. the floor on which my feet rested was beautiful, but it was easy to damage, and it showed every speck of dirt that settled on it--good, not perfect. our house was a wonderful house, thoughtfully planned with many unusual, but beautiful and helpful, features. after sixty-two years, things had to be repaired from time to time, and the plumbing, though functional, was a little quirky. a good house, but not a perfect one.
i could list so many good-but-not-perfect things in my life, as we all could. the point is that if we expect perfection we will always be disappointed. if we expect each day to conform to our ideal, we'll never have a "good" day. we are so much happier if we accept the circumstances of each day as it comes to us. so what if the repairman who promised to come shows up today, two days later than he said he would, to make a needed repair. at least he's here now, and you make the best of it. or what's the great tragedy if you discover that the shirt you had planned to wear today is found to be in the laundry with a stain on the pocket? you have other shirts that are just as nice.
life is full of these inconveniences. we can either deal with them with acceptance or allow them to ruin our day. may we choose the former. may we embrace the day on its own terms, taking things as they come. may we say at the end of the day, "it was a lovely day. i am grateful for it." may we learn from the events that force us to change our best-laid plans and rejoice. shalom.