My wife and I had the joy of spending Christmas in Atlanta with our oldest son David and his very pregnant wife Jeanna, along with our two other sons, their wives, and our three grandkids. We had a glorious, sometimes chaotic time together. It was awesome!
David and JeJe (that’s what we affectionally call her), have a beautifully restored home built in 1930. One of the features I love about their house are the floors.
They are a beautifully refinished dark oak – narrow slats with a soft patina. If you look closely, you notice all sorts of indentations burn marks, scratches, and scars which give the wood character. Each of these imperfections represents a story. Did this ding come from someone who dropped a chair while moving in decades ago? Did these scratch marks come from a neighbor’s dog when a child accidentally left the front door open? What “adventure” resulted in those burn marks by the fireplace?
These imperfections don’t detract from the look of the house. On the contrary, the flaws are what give the floors and the house character. Sure, the floors have all been beautifully restored, but beneath the finish, the scars of life and love are still visible.
So it is with you and me. Our lives are imperfect, flawed. But these are wounds that help refine and define us. They make us who we are – and we are better for it. We all want our life circumstances to go just the way we want. We want ease, comfort, and success. But that’s not reality. We mess up. Sometimes things happen that we can’t predict or control. As a result, our bodies, our emotions, our memories reflect the scars. The scars represent a story. And like all stories, there are parts in the plot where there is drama and pain. But there are also moments of healing, of grace, of growth, of awakening even of joy and exhilaration.
As you look forward with anticipation of a new year and a new decade, know that you’re prepared to succeed and achieve not just because of your past accomplishments. You’re ready because of the last decade’s failures, mistakes, and lessons learned the hard way.
Like those gorgeous hardwood floors, you are beautifully flawed. Let your choices, your attitude, your actions, your life convey the hard-fought warmth, character, stability, confidence, and determination that is the fruit of your failures.
Your story is not entirely written. New chapters await. Let the exciting adventures of 2020 rest on the shoulders of past stories that have brought you to this moment with the vision, passion, focus, and courage that you now have.