Fine Wine

 This afternoon, my husband, his sister, and I had the chance to visit a vineyard. What an amazing place with many, many years of operational history. Out of all of the steps taken to produce the number one wine in the country, the step that amazed me the most was the very first one. In order to ensure that every single grape is absolutely perfect, the vitner hand picks only the perfect grapes from the vine. All of the grapes are used in what he termed “every day wine,” but the award winning wine is made only from these hand picked grapes. What love and care must go into that process! Imagine spending the hottest days of the entire year, the first days of August, outside in the blazing sun, painstakingly choosing only the very best grapes – not too heavy with juice, perfectly colored, and without blemish. 

I wonder if there has ever been anything in my life that I have done with that amount of thought and care. Perhaps the slideshow I made for Rebecca’s graduation or the photo album I secretly made of my husband’s life story a few years ago, or going farther back, the cross-stitched poems I made for my mother and mother-in-law and presented to them the night before my wedding. There is no doubt that I did those things out of love and that they took hours, even months to complete, but I’m not sure that compares to standing in the hot sun all day and into the night to pick hundreds of only the most perfect fruit for someone else to enjoy. Yes, it’s his vineyard, his livelihood, but still, wouldn’t any bunch of grapes do?

Of course, the answer is no. And why? Because the vitner saw the production of the best wine as something so important, so magnificent, that he couldn’t bear to use anything but the most perfect grapes. He took such care and such pride in his work, his vineyard, and his wine that his enthusiasm radiated from him. I’d like to believe that it provided a new outlook on life for me, a new way to approach a task. I can’t help but to ask myself if any task done with that much love and care and attention could turn out to be anything other than a work of prize-winning perfection. Certainly there’s a lesson in there for us all. 

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Nobody’s Perfect

Many years ago, a very wise man told me something that I have never forgotten.  After I graduated from college, I moved back home to find a job and save some money until my next great adventure came along.  The first weekend I was home, I attended Mass with my family at our church.  Our pastor, Father Paul (now Monsignor Dudziak), welcomed me home and asked me how it felt to be a college graduate.  I told him that it felt good but not great because I had graduated magna cum laude and not summa cum laude and had missed the higher honor by less than a tenth of a percentage point.  Father Paul nodded without comment and then asked me to follow him.  When we reached the altar he pointed to the floor and asked me “Do you see this carpet?” I nodded, unsure of why he was asking, and he continued.  “This carpet has handmade by Persian monks.  It took months, maybe years, because it was intricately planned and woven by hand.  They are experts at making rugs and create the finest works of art.  However, in every rug they make, they always weave into it a mistake.”  He looked at me and asked, “Do you know why?”  I shook my head, and he replied, “Only God is perfect.”  Humbled, I blushed and nodded.

Do I still strive for perfection?  Every. Single.  Day.  And every day I am reminded, in some way, that I will never achieve perfection.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  The French playwright, Pierre Corneille, once said “we never taste happiness in perfection, our most fortunate successes are mixed with sadness.”  While we all try to be perfect and live a perfect life, don’t we all feel much more accomplished and successful when we’ve faced failureDSC00481 and risen above it?  And who is to say what a perfect life is?  Many would have said that Robin Williams had the perfect life, but alas, he did not think it true.

As Father Paul pointed out to me those many years ago, humans are not perfect, and we never will be.  Michelangelo said “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”  A perfect sunset?  Yes.  The perfect novel?  Probably not.  While we all should try to attain perfection in our lives so as to be worthy of the life God has given to us, we will all fail over and over again.  That is how we learn and grow and become the person we are meant to be.  So I will continue to work towards perfection as I journey through life, but I will remember that I will, and must, make mistakes along the way.  For as the great novelist Margaret Atwood so truthfully said “If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com