September 6, 2011

When Love Doesn't Look as You'd Imagined

Ten years ago, I spent a few months searching for a chandelier for my dining room. I'd had an idea of what I wanted: partially mounted, three pronged, gold-colored pendant lamp. I wanted something to reflect the feel of my first little home, which was cute, small, classic, and simple.
Something shaped kinda like this:

only way more simple.

Or maybe like this:
minus the fretwork.

Or this:

But in gold.

I went into dozens of stores filled with lights galore, each having its own beauty but not really feeling totally right. And then, one day, in a tiny store with just a couple dozen lights, I saw it, pictured on the side of a box and sitting on the lower shelf. It was priced just a little higher than I'd intended on spending - maybe ten or twenty dollars more - and it wasn't exactly as I'd imagined wanting. It had everything on my dream list: gold, three-pronged, pendant, cute, simple, reasonably priced. But even though I didn't have an exact image of "what it would look like" in my head, I wasn't really sure if that perfectly-seeming lamp would be "mine." It was all I'd wanted, fit my requests, but it somehow looked different than I'd expected. Maybe the prongs were thinner than I'd imagined. Or the gold was more shiny than I'd thought it would be. For fifteen minutes, I debated buying it, and eventually decided to go for it.

When I got home, I carefully unwrapped the glass globe from its bubble wrap, read the instructions, hit the breaker, and fiddled with the wires and hanging mount as I carefully attached the light to the ceiling. When I turned the electricity back on I curiously examined its presence beaming in my home. Its warm, delicate light bounced off the cozy walls and I knew, this was it. How had I doubted it so much?
As the years have gone by, I can't remember exactly what it was about that light that had me debating in the store for fifteen minutes. I can't imagine anything more perfect for me, for the room, for the house.

Doesn't it look great in here?

For me, many of my dreams have tricked me similarly. I've known what I wanted and dreamed of in my life, but when it comes time for the perfect fit to present itself, it doesn't really come in the exact packaging I'd expected. It's exactly as I'd wanted, but with maybe a few unexpected tweaks.

I often think about that ceiling light, still hanging in the dining room, awaiting a new homeowner to move into the house in a few weeks to decide whether she loves it as much as I do. And now, as I search for another lamp for my next dining room in my new home, all I can wonder is - how in the world will I ever find anything as perfect as that one was?

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