Nothing’s Ever Perfect
When I was a child, my mother bought me the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I’m not sure if it was a birthday present, I think I was around 10 years old, but I can still visualize the book and the cover. This beautiful book sat on my shelf for years, and now I wish I still had it. At the time, I didn’t understand the value of having nice quality books and unfortunately I never read this story as I child. However, years later as an adult I read Little Women and loved it. I think that is what happens when we get older, we read books that we should have read when we were young or maybe we reread books that we read when we were young and enjoy them so much more when are perspective and viewpoint is different. Perhaps we even understand the book differently, if not better the second time around. There were plenty of classic pieces of literature that I just skimmed through, mainly because I was uninterested in reading when I was young. Thankfully, that has changed and I now recognize reading to be somewhat of a luxury, but available to all who take the time to experience.
For those of us who do enjoy reading, you know what I mean. For those who do not read for pleasure, let me offer this plea, once you start reading, you will love the discipline. The more you read the more you need to read. It is like anything else; we need to put a little effort into things that have real value. Once the habit is established, it no longer becomes a chore but something we enjoy and can’t live without. This is the tendency of other valuable things in our lives like exercise and healthy eating. The more we “do” the less of a chore it becomes and the more enjoyable it will actually will be.
I recently watched Little Women on PBS. It was Little Women condensed into 3 beautifully done episodes. Little Women is a story that exports us to a place and time where life was more simple and relationships were perhaps more tangible. There were less distractions. No TV or social media to interfere with life which allows us to rest in non-interactive entertainment. Yet, some to the problems were the same: sisters didn’t always agree, bullying occurred in school, and family members became ill and even died.
There are so many lessons from this story. I feel like I would have enjoyed living during this time period. Granted the father went off to war and became very ill to the point of near death, and that is something I’m glad I never had to experience, but I loved how the sisters interacted. They were unafraid to share their emotions, voice their opinions, to even support or not support each other. They did not always agree, but they did always forgive each other, even if the offense had significant consequences. They were able to show affection and love towards each other and it wasn’t considered weird or inappropriate. They accepted that life was not perfect but it is a gift.
I’m not sure if this is a true quote from the book or not, but it struck me and I want to share with you. Now I’m not even sure if Jo or her mother, Marmee said it but one of them said: “nothing’s ever perfect but things can be just right”. I love that sentiment. It is so true. I can’t think of anything that is perfect. Sure we have moments that seem perfect, but if we expect perfection, we are going to be very disappointed. But what we can be certain, life can be just right despite the imperfection. I think the story of Little Women illustrates that and it is a lesson worth considering.
Little Women may be a children’s book, but like a lot of children’s literature, it has implication and value for all of us. Just as children teach us so many lessons in life, like unfiltered kindness, not seeing color, loving purely, a children’s book can give us that sense of childlike pleasure, enjoyment and fulfillment.
So be deliberate and pick up a book. Maybe choose a childhood classic or something more contemporary. What ever you decide, you will find the time spent reading will be profitable. Even if by chance you don’t thoroughly love the book, I’m certain there is something to gain. Nothing’s perfect but things can be just right.