I've picked up some helpful nuggets in all my years of therapy. And I don't mean the obvious analysis or guidance with all my neurosis and obvious character defects. Along the way my therapists have sometimes blown my mind with passing statements. Like this one...
"Some things are worth doing poorly."
She said it like it was an obvious truth. A basic life skill. This axiom was thrown out on the way to a bigger problem solved but I wasn't going to let that one slide in under the radar. This was exactly the opposite of everything I learned in my Midwestern Ethics workbook. (Okay, that book doesn't exist, but you know what I mean).
"Like what?" I asked.
She went on to explain that sometimes things were worth doing even if we couldn't do them at the highest level of our ability.
"Like what?" I inquired again.
"Well, like bringing store bought sweets to your child's kindergarten Valentine's Day party."
Still not getting it.
But over the years I have perfected this art of doing worthwhile things poorly.
Photo Cred: fauxpress
Practice makes imperfection easier.
This simple philosophy has helped me experience numerous joys that I would have otherwise avoided because I could not undertake them with perfection. Take last weekend, for instance. Madison invited 17 girls over for a Murder Mystery Dinner at our house and I had exactly two days to prepare. In fairness, she did have a distracted discussion with me earlier about this which I vaguely remember, but the reality hit me two days prior to the event after a two day business trip to Dallas.
What I wanted to do was go all out. There were two games with two different themes and I could instantly picture the Hollywood room and the British Manor room. I envisioned gold statues at each place setting in one room and real china with cut flowers and biscuits in the next. But I had two days and I was working on both them and I had no budget.
As I saw it, I had three viable options...
1. Cancel the event.
Not fair to Madison since I'd already agreed
2. Stay up all night preparing.
Nope, that was not going happen. I'm too old.
3. Go ahead with the evening with less than perfect ambiance.
Because they are in middle school, they've never been to a murder mystery dinner and I have nothing to prove.
You guessed it...I went with option 3 (if, for no other reason than to be a good steward of the thousands of dollars I've spent in therapy). And, I'm so glad I did.
Yes, they ate Costco food on paper plates. There were no themed decorations, I had no costume, the food was average at best and there was no prepared playlist filling each room with sound.
And...it was awesome. The girls laughed and ate and laughed some more. They accused each other of murder, lied about their alibis and filled the house with shrieks and giggles. They emoted and cried crocodile tears. And when it was all over there were white boa feathers scattered throughout the house and plastic cups in every room.
I have to admit that I had moments of loss prior to guests arriving. I so wanted them to be 'wowed' by the event...by my creativity and work. But on this night it was relationships that stole the show. And my beautiful daughter who has an amazing ability to bring people together and make them feel good about themselves.
Perhaps next time there will be glitter and streamers and fine china. But perhaps not. Either way, this event was worth doing poorly.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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