Look at this beauty. Perfect landscaping, incredible architecture, pretty much perfection.
Then came the zoomed out photo.This unbelievably gorgeous site is in the middle of all this filth. Trash everywhere. I was shocked. So much so that I decided to do a little more research to see if it was really that dirty there. (I know, I know. Everything the internet says is true so I should have just left it.) But apparently, this is correct.
Now I don’t have any plans to visit India so that isn’t why this caught my eye. The picture was just so reflective of what I see all the time. This perfect life that we portray. We are living in a world of cropping and filters. And not just on our social media feed.
A selfie posted on Instagram where we are in full make-up, hair is perfect and we are smiling from ear to ear. But if we zoomed out we would see a house filled with laundry and dishes and bills to pay.
We snapshot our vacations and tell everyone how fun it is. But if we took the filter off it would reveal the tension of reigning in toddlers, traveling with babies and stressing over the money it costs for us to take this vacation.
We buy beautiful houses and keep them in immaculate condition in hopes that everyone will focus their attention on it and not on the fact that we live a separate life from our spouse and haven’t been happy in years.
We take up causes that may very well be good and noble, but we throw ourselves into them so that we can avoid our own life problems.
And guess what- we are not doing anyone favors here. Especially ourselves. Has anyone out there ever had a situation change by denying that it exists? Zooming in on the Taj Mahal doesn’t actually take away the garbage all around it. Just like getting another promotion or more money doesn’t take away or fix the fact that you have broken relationships and turmoil around you. You might look good close up, but zoom out a bit and there it is.
But the thing is, we all have that garbage. We all have places of brokenness and mess. We all have the toys thrown around the house, or the kids that misbehave, or relationships that need healing. We all have something. And it’s when we acknowledge it in ourselves and in others that we can start to clean up some of it.
I have some of the dearest friends a person could ever hope for. Friends who really share a life with us. We didn’t get there by pretending to have all of our shit together. We grew close in the mess. In the times that I have been so broken and spent and they graciously allowed me to be unfiltered and completely exposed. And in those times they offered me grace and love and hope. And when the time came, I did the same for them. Their mess didn’t scare me. Because slowly, over the years, we had already started zooming out from the perfection. We were not trying to pretend we were something we were not. And it has allowed for beautiful relationships and growth.
The other day I was playing outside with my son. He said “Mom, let me take your picture.” I did one smiling and it actually wasn’t too bad. But he said “no, that doesn’t work. Do a funny one.” So I did and he said it was PERFECT. I have no make up on (which is 98% of my life), the dog is judging me, the lawn needs mowing, on and on. It has no filter, no cropping, just as it is. And to be honest, I am this weird all the time.
So today I am determined to be a little more open, a little more zoomed out, a little more me with those I am around. It might be messy. And uncomfortable. But for those who love me most, they say it’s perfect.