Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Pursuit of Perfection

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year, which consisted my parents, brother, sister in law and nephew. Six adults, two kids under the age of five. A simple and (mostly) quiet holiday.

The task fell on me to prepare The Turkey. Now, for those of you who have prepared The Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, you know this is no small task. I mean, sure, it should be simple… put turkey in oven and roast it. Ta-Da! But no, there are a myriad of pitfalls in the preparation of a turkey. First, you must thaw it, a process that takes place over a 3 day period. There is no thing as a "last minute turkey thawing”. Then there are a dozen questions to answer.... to brine or not to brine? How long to cook for maximum juicy-ness and least likelihood of salmonella poisoning? Method of cooking... grill, roast, deep fat fry? Stuffing in or stuffing out? Seasonings? The turkey is the centerpiece. The "make it or break it" part of the meal.

Juicy Turkey = Thanksgiving Perfection.

Dry or Undercooked Turkey = Complete Failure.

Can you feel the drama?
After dinner, my mom and I were chatting. She confessed that this time of year is not her favorite... that there is too much pressure to do everything "just so".... sorta sucks the joy out of the season. And that got me thinking about the pursuit of perfection.

I think (and mayhap you agree) that many people dread the holiday season because of this pursuit of perfection. The holidays are suppose to be happy! With singing and good food, smiles and perfect presents, joyful church activities and holiday decorations. And family and friends in perfect harmony. And if you don't have those Norman Rockwell moments, something is seriously wrong with you.

The "perfect holiday" is a like a condensed example of our pursuit of the perfect life.

And to not have a "perfect holiday" is some sort of failure....

Much like not having the 'perfect life'.

Jonathan is teaching me that there is no such thing as that 'perfect life'. Not that I didn't know this before Jonathan. But the pursuit of perfection ... the possibility of having the perfect house, job, and family is still there somewhere. The illusion still beckons from the shadows. But that definition of perfection has faded in importance for me. I am trying not to care about those things anymore.

My goals are smaller now, but so much more important. My desires are simpler, and yet so much more complicated. I feel like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole, not quite knowing my place in the world where the pursuit of "perfection" seems so important. I don't fit... we don't fit... and I am not sure what that means. Or how to be apart and yet a part.

But how about that Turkey?

Roasted with onions in an oven bag
at 325 F for 3 1/2 hours.


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