Perfect Love?

As we were coming to the end of our recent visit to Cashmere, Washington to see my son and his family, Sherry and I were both tired from the long trip, and our patience with everything—including each other—was wearing thin. Small glitches in the way things were going seemed much larger than they truly were, and several times I snapped at my dear wife. And each time I did, it hurt me as much, if not more, than it hurt her. As we drove home from the airport, I inwardly chastised myself for being short with her, realizing, even as I did, she’d probably already forgiven me. Yet, I continued to suffer my self-inflicted shame. Too, many times, we beat ourselves up when the one we wronged has already forgiven us; or at the very least, would do so if we simply said we were sorry and asked them to. The last line of this poem came to mind on that ride home, and this morning I put it to verse.

As my dear friend, Mr. Buddy Howell likes to say, “Y’all be good to one another, ya hear?”

Posted on Promising Poets’ Parking Lot – Thursday Poets Rally Week 54


Perfect Love?


Too many times

We are our own worst critic

Seeing flaws

That may or may not be there

Who told us we should be perfect?

No mistakes, no misspoken words

No wrongs, always right

Who defined love this way?

A movie that made us cry?

Said saying “I’m sorry” wasn’t allowed

A song heard at just the wrong time?

About leaving with no time for goodbye

I can’t be perfect

But I can love you as I do

I can love you in spite of anything

Wanting nothing in return

Love isn’t expecting, it’s giving… all

Doing the very best we can each day

So when I, or you, mess things up

Can we simply say?

I’ll forgive me… if you will

Copyright © 2011 C. Mashburn


  1. Cheri said

    loved it:)
    just so you know–i knew you had not been yourself of late–i almost wrote to ask you what was going on, but i thought i would give you a little more time:)..breath and love and WRITE!!!

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    A wonderful poem with a great message . . . and I’ll forgive me, if you will! I love you always.

  3. Ken said

    That works two I quess. I was thinkin she should just give ya an old fashion ass whoopin, sounds like what ya was a lookin fer to me. Oh well more than one way ta skin a cat. Cheers Bro

  4. Old Jules said

    Love it. Especially the last stanza. Jules

  5. Ah, this feeling I know all too well. Beautifully written.

  6. Oh, we tend to be complicated beings sometimes but I’ll forgive you.

  7. Great poem – very well written 😉

  8. Glad to find out that you are tired from traveling, aren’t you supposed to have fun?

    stocking at home is very boring, but traveling could be tiresome, we used to drive all over the states to visit science museums, zoos, gardens, and more, passing time 3 times a year is fair enough.

    done that, no more interested in those since kids are teen now.

    bless you, forgive yourself, and do something special to make her feel good and make yourself look good.

  9. terri0729 said

    Amen Charlie! Ain’t that the truth. It’s always harder to forgive ourself than others and vise-versa. But love doesn’t come perfected on earth, only above 🙂 With all of the stress Mark and I have been under sperately and together, we’ve had our snappy moments to. He even called my Sybil one day, lol! That’s love!? Peace, love and blessings, Terri

  10. So glad you are asking the questions, they are important questions to ask!

    • When it comes to love, I believe they are all important.
      Thank you for the comments, Sherrie!

  11. Ken said

    Hey how come I didn’t get a thank you for the wonderful comments? This blog is racist!

  12. Fatesjoke03 said

    Beautiful, love these lines in particular: “But I can love you as I do

    I can love you in spite of anything”. Well done.

  13. Such a touching poem. The end was a perfect conclusion.

  14. ghosterb said

    Sweet, sincere and very well said (Written) my friend. I loved it!

  15. Kay Salady said

    I just read this aloud to my daughter and we both think it’s so beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes, Charles. We both needed to hear this. Thanks!

    • I think we all need to hear this every now and then.
      Thanks for the wonderful comments, Kay!

  16. How so very true… and how so very difficult to be that way too 🙂 Loved it Charles…

    • It’s funny how things we do should be easy, but they are often the most difficult.
      Thanks for the comments, Manoj!

  17. Bupinder Singh said

    thats LOVE, A perfect one

  18. I am beginning to become a real fan of
    your work. The topic was great and sincere,
    and i loved how you ended it. Good work.

  19. Andy said

    This one tugged at my heartstrings so much, because my wife & I have both been in this same situation more than once.

    As a perfect human, without sin, Jesus’ love was the epitome of perfection when he was on this earth. If we can love each other with a fraction of that love, it’s as close to perfection as we’re ever going to get as imperfect humans.

    To forgive, be it oneself or someone else is too be humble. Some see humility as a weakness, but it takes strength of steel to be humble. I sense humility in you and in Sherry.

    Powerful writing, Charles. Love your ending too.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Bashful Lady

    • You see right through me, Andy. I think you and I are very much alike when it comes to our assessments of love. I, too, believe the model is Jesus, and we will never (on this earth) come close to His kind of love, but even if we can attain a small portion of it, we have done well. Thank you for the awesome, thoughtful comments!

  20. clariice said

    I love this love. All-encompassing – though it must be a two party effort. If only one is able to do that, it wouldnt last. One will eventually be tired out from all the giving.

  21. This is great Chas. I can’t imagine anyone who disagrees! Thank you!!!!!

  22. Charlie another amazing poem and I love your ending can we just simply say I forgive you and you do the same that one at times is so hard due to the pride of the other person or even your own. I wish it would be that simple if thee is a need to forgive then be the first person to try and offer your words and hope the other will accept it and move on

  23. poetryroad said

    This isn’t the first time I have printed one of your entries to share with someone but this one surely had perfect timing in my life right now! As always I enjoy reading your work and that includes the premise for this poem. Thanks!

    • I love it when the timing is perfect. I am so glad this one was there when you needed it!
      Thank you for the comments!

  24. laurie said

    Oh, I LOVE this! Beautifully written and beautiful subject. So true, and such a wonderful message. Very well done! laurie @ Battling My Inner Critic

  25. …and, I hope you shared this with your wife?
    good poem…I like it very much.
    you reached deep and pulled it out.

    • You bet I did! She’s the best partner a man could ask for!
      Thanks for the comments!

  26. Good advice, thanks!

  27. pure2core said

    Your words have no comparison to any..It speaks up the heart…So very lovely poetry will preserve this poem to refer to people who debate on perfect love…Thanks for share Sir…Am so blessed to be acquainted to you indeed..

  28. Jennifaye said

    To forgive … to love. 🙂 I love this piece. Great work, Charles!

  29. This is awesome, Charles!! Thank you for sharing!!

    “Love isn’t expecting, it’s giving… all

    Doing the very best we can each day

    So when I, or you, mess things up

    Can we simply say?

    I’ll forgive me… if you will”

    Just beautiful, and one the best definitions of love! 🙂

  30. dani said

    this gave me chills, Charles! i don’t think i truly understood how to be happy in a relationship until i started focusing on “what can i do to make you happy today?” instead of listing all of MY needs that weren’t being “met” ~ this is beautiful! ♥

    • I think it’s the answer, Dani! It certainly works for me. The thought occured to me today: Maybe those that are hard to love aren’t really that hard to love; maybe I’m just not that good at loving them. Know what I mean?
      Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate them!

  31. A.B. Thomas said

    slick and poignant stream – which so many cannot do themselves, forgiveness of oneself is percieved as being much more when it in reality seems like it should be the trivialest of things

    • I think it has a much deeper meaning than we think, A.B.
      Thanks for the visit and comments!

  32. divine passion, stay blessed.


  33. Cherlyn said

    Wow, this is absolutely fantastic. The poem itself is beautifully written, but what I’m really “wowing” about is how th is really speaks to people on a personal level, because I’m sure everyone reading this has felt like they weren’t perhaps good enough for the person they are with. I love how instead of going towards perhaps a darker message, a sadder, angst filled message, you turned it around, and made it more uplifting – asking for forgiveness, and for acceptance for being you. It’s hopeful, and I love it. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • I am so glad you like this one. It is getting lots of reaations and comments similar to yours, and it blesses me to see this! I had no ideaa it would strike such a deep cord in so many folks. Thank you very much for the awesome comments!

  34. Just what my hubby and i need right now. Done with forgiving each other, now time to forgive oneself. You’re the angel messenger to me right now – thank you 🙂

    • I know you are a blessing to so many, and what a blessing it is to me to know this was a help to you and your husband! I’m no angel, but I will be yours for a moment! Thank you so much for the wonderful comments!

  35. Raivenne said

    “So when I, or you, mess things up

    Can we simply say?

    I’ll forgive me… if you will”

    Oh yes, self-forgiveness is often much harder than forgiving others. So good to have a moment and to catch up with some of my favorite blogger such as you, Charles. I needed to read this today, Wonderful, inspiring and truthful words as always.

  36. “Ill forgive me if you will…” wow. That’s so powerful… and I totally feel your pain.

    • Here’s the beauty of it NYer; there is no pain. We forgive ourselves and each other, and we move on together. Life, and love, is good.
      Thank you so much fr the thoughtful coments!

  37. chimnese said

    seriously this poem had the truth in each line, we are our own worst crits, we find fault with everything about ourlives we complain, about this or that…we let ppl dictate us that we sud live according this rule an dwe sud be with that one…its ongoing but that is just how the human race are and its never going to change.

  38. ZQ said

    Very well done. Intimate reflection. “Forgiveness” is a pre-requsite for “forgiven”. Thanks again for a wonderful reminder.

  39. mbwilliams said

    Great poem! I think sometimes it is easy to forget that it is the situation that is the trouble not each other…

    • Brilliantly put, M.B.! I actually hadn’t put it to those exact words: “it is the situation that is the trouble not each other…” Excellent observation and insight!
      Thanks so much for the visit and comments!

  40. If only we all practiced this simple truth life would be so much kinder to us. Thank you so much for articulating it so well.

    • Thank you, Carly! I appreciate your comments, and I hope you enjoy the things you read here!

  41. Well, I don’t see this fitting quite into my understanding of relationship– nothing I can connect to my own experience so far in my marriage, anyway, but it does speak to my being hard on myself in other areas, where perhaps the work, effort and even love put into something may actually be enough, in spite of my desires that they be much better (perhaps perfection is truly the standard I want to bear) or fears that they are hopelessly, shamefully inadequate.

    I think it is interesting how prevalent the perfectionism complex is, considering how ill it serves us.

    Your chronicles of your own love and marriage are always enjoyable, and provide me with a fresh perspective on things.

    • I think the perfectionism thing is something we are trained/taught to have, and it definitely applies to all facets of life. I was terrible about thinking I had to do everything perfect for most of my life. I finally let go of the concept, and learned to just do the best I can and be satisfied with the result. I could go around in a circle with that concept, too!
      As for my relationship, I didn’t always have the attitude about love that I have now; quite the opposite, actually. I’m glad the things I say are of interest to you, although I think each person, or couple, has to find their own way. There’s no magic recipe that will work for everyone. I think there are some ingrediaents that must be present, but different spices can be added to enhance the final product.
      Thanks for the insightful comments, Elaine!

  42. marit said

    this is great!!

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