I’m always delighted to find an essay by Dominique Browning in one publication or another. She’s the former editor of the now defunct House and Garden magazine and I recommended her book, Around the House and in the Garden, in one of my early blogs. The story is a memoir of her emotional recovery after losing her job and facing a divorce, a plucky account which I admire.
Her essay, which appeared in the September issue of Good Housekeeping, details her chores as she prepares her house for fall. One of her tasks is to wax the dining room table, a possession marred by 26 years of use, mostly with watermarks left by her son. He’d inflicted more damage during a recent visit and as the author pauses to consider the history of these imperfections, she wonders if they shouldn’t be memorialized in some way, perhaps even given dates, so that the happiness surrounding his visits wouldn’t be entirely polished from memory.
That she should look upon imperfection in a loving way touched me and this morning, as I stared into my mirror at my aging face, I wondered if I might consider taking the same relaxed view of it. The lines about my mouth and eyes could be erased cosmetically, if I had the patience and the money. But wouldn’t it be better to look upon them not as flaws but as evidence of a long and colorful life, mostly a happy one, for the lines reflect more laughter than tears?
Imperfections aren’t always a bad thing, as Dominique Browning reminds us. They bear witness to our struggles and achievements — times when we have stumbled and fallen yet managed to pick ourselves up and go on.
(Courtesy of www.abc.net.au)