Dear Lois Lowry,
Perfection isn’t everything. It took me eleven years to figure that out. It would have probably taken twice the amount of time if I hadn’t come across your words. Your book, The Giver, contained words that were like a magical elixir. An elixir that I would drink and drink until my eyes got tired of staring at ink on paper. Your words were so inspirational. But they also taught me something. Something I will never forget. Something, that will affect my life for years to come.
I am a perfectionist. That is something that I never can change. I never knew what it was like to get below an eighty percent on a test. I never will know what it is like to write a short story. If people didn’t perform something in the proper way, I would get mad at them. I couldn’t help it. I just could not understand how they could even consider the idea of doing something the way that you weren’t told to. It was hard, being the only one who cared about grammar. It was hard for me to appreciate something that someone did, such as writing a story. I would always manage to pick out the tiny little mistakes that don’t matter, even if I didn’t want to.
But then, in came your book, swooping in with wings like of an angel, offering me sanctuary from the start. And I took that sanctuary without hesitation. I could not stop reading it. I couldn’t stop drinking that elixir. It just made so much sense. It solved my problems. When Jonas was surprised to see color, my heart twisted in place. When he first learned about sorrow, my spirit did a backflip. How could he have not known those things? Then I had it. Jonas had lived what some might consider a perfect life. He had no pain. Life without pain isn’t life. Life with perfection is not life. Jonas never would have known all those things if his life stayed perfect. Your book helped me realize that alive and living are not the same; they’re practically polar opposites.
When I first thought about this concept, I was confused. How could those two words be so different? I never thought about pain being necessary in life. I realized that for there to be ups in life, there also have to be downs. Pain is required to bring joy. There are reasons to why my grandmother died and why my father lost his job. Now I know why falling hurts so much. However, there’s something else. I figured out that being a perfectionist is kind of like being “president of utopian life.” Human error is just as important as painfulness. Mistakes don’t just help us learn, they prove that we are human - and that’s something I’m now fine with. I found out that flaws are okay.
I am a perfectionist. That is something I can never change. But I can change how I act towards others. I’ve learned how to ignore those small little pointless mistakes. After all, why should I care about their errors? It’s not my job to fix them. I’ve also learned how to appreciate the work of others. I can now focus on the wow parts. I have learned so many lessons through your book. There are so many things I will never forget. The Giver made me a person I never knew I could be.