It’s no secret that I want the fairy tale. You know it, don’t you? Woman meets man; he sweeps her off her feet (usually on horseback, with great scenery); they fall madly in love; get married; have beautiful children; and live happily ever after. And if you are Bree VandeKamp, you also have the “perfect” family portrait on display in the most meticulously kept house.
Lately, however, I have taken observation of the people around me. I see happiness, love, faith, and family in non-fairy tale stories.
Sometimes life doesn’t always go as we plan it. Sometimes step 5 (beautiful kids) is a precursor to step 4 (get married). Sometimes we don’t hit all the steps. But, what I see in the people in my life is that these neat, orderly steps don’t necessarily matter. They often are part of the larger equation, but the sum is greater than its parts. And nobody scrutinizes the parts, anyway.
So why does it feel so wrong to contemplate these steps out of order? Why do I still assume that they must happen numerically, from 1 to 6? Why does it make me uncomfortable think of 4 following 5 or any one of the middle ones not coming to fruition? I can sit back and see that my friend who skipped steps 3 and 4 both is very content in her life; as is friend who inverted 4 and 5. Their “perfect” came in a different package than the white picket fence; but it’s perfect for their lives.
And life tends to work itself out in the most amazing ways, if we just let it. So maybe my fairy tale will look different than yours? But “perfect,” like beauty, I believe is in the eye of the beholder. And your tale may be different than mine, but that’s what makes it perfect for you.
Retro re-post of the day: At the Movies.
Retro re-post bonus: Meditations in Brief.