We bought a real tree this year. One that's in a big fat pot with dirt and roots. It's extremely heavy and awkward, and in the three days it's been in my house has scattered a lovely dust of something I'm calling pine crumbles.
It was quite the investment, in case you don't know that about real trees. But assuming it survives it's week in the house with all of us, it will then find it's way to a permanent spot in our yard. I like that.
We've talked about having a real tree for several years. It just always felt like too much money. And unnecessary when we had a perfectly beautiful, waiting to be assembled tree courtesy of Sears always waiting in the shed for us.
But there's just been this longing in me that it never quite satisfies. This desire for real and authentic. As I watch my husband put the tree together one branch it a time, it just feels….fake. Because of course it is. But for whatever reason, I've found myself very disenchanted with anything imitation the last couple of years. I only want the real thing.
SO, this year we did it.
And I was so excited. Friday night we brought the tree in the house and I couldn't wait to see how beautiful it would look all decked out in lights.
The decorating was challenging to say the least. If you've never had a real tree, let me tell you: those pine needles are sharp. And especially abrasive to someone who has a pine allergy. I was covered in a red rash up to my elbows by the end of the night.
When all was done I turned off the lights and stood back to look at my real tree.
It's kind of crooked. And fatter on one side than the other. From one particular angle it almost looks like it could be tipping over. My star was too heavy for it. It's smaller than my fake tree, so it's glow doesn't dominate the living room like I'm used to.
It was absolutely real.
And not all that beautiful.
Not compared to the fake tree.
In that moment the irony hit me.
Do I want real, or do I want perfect?
Because the truth is I have to choose. You can't have it both ways.
And of course for me perfect is the automatic choice.
Or at least it always has been.
But I think I'm coming to a place where I can finally see that real is better. Life isn't perfect. Love isn't perfect. People aren't perfect. I can never be perfect. Perfect is not a part of now. That's reality.
So, I can keep on going like I have been, not accepting the fact that I'm fighting to reach a destination that's not even on the map.
Or I can let that go, over and over again, and choose real.
Real might mean crooked and abrasive and a little shorter than hoped for.
But whether it's a Christmas tree or life, I'm learning I'd rather have messy and authentic, than artificially perfect.
Linking up with Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped.