It was midsummer when I drove for miles down roads that wound up hills and down, to buy some apples for my small pie business. As I was leaving, the woman behind the counter of the rural country market told me that they were the end of the line and there would be no more until the new crop came in.
The three large boxes I managed to get represented quite a few pies, but one by one they all found a home before the new crop was available from my supplier. When my freezer was finally empty, I went to my local No Frills, which is a little more expensive, but I looked for the apples in bags labelled, "Naturally Imperfect." These apples lack conformity in size or shape--they aren't quite "perfect," but are perfectly delicious in the pies.
Recently as I was thinking about a fault that was obvious in an acquaintance, I thought of the "naturally imperfect" label, and how appropriately it could be applied to humans. In that moment, instead of persisting in my critical thinking, I thought instead: Why shouldn't that person have faults? Don't I? Don't we all? Isn't it part of the human condition to be imperfect?
Later that same day I was in a meeting when a topic was raised about which I had some strong feelings. When I had a chance to give input, I went on far too long, went into way too much detail, was too emotional, and, in retrospect, I realized how pompous I must have sounded, as though I thought I was some kind of expert on the subject we were discussing.
When Paul gently confirmed my suspicions after we got home, I felt so embarrassed. That was when I remembered--I am Naturally Imperfect. It was helpful to remember and accept that about myself. Sure, I embarrassed myself a little--maybe even more than a little, but so what? My friends in the meeting simply got to see that I am very human.
One area I do have some expertise in is pastry, and in my hands, even imperfect apples turn into a perfect pie. It's not a great leap to realize that it isn't about me, but about whose hands I am in. God can use me, even in my weakness and imperfection, just as a well-known old poem called The Old Violin (The Touch of the Master's Hand) describes:
2 Corinthians 12:9
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
2 Corinthians 12:9