You've heard endless tales of "the one that got away." The baseline stories of this genre are about fish. But, there are varieties ranging from perfect mates to ideal jobs to model churches. I am a bit suspicious of them all.

It isn't that I am a cynic or less than willing to strive for an ideal. Instead, it is that I believe I have seen people paralyzed by a romantic search for some person, thing, or situation that doesn't exist. Do you really think you know someone who has the perfect work situation, family, or church?

The more realistic truth is that every job has challenges, and every company has to deal with threats to its personnel and market. The family that looks happiest and is genuinely solid probably got that way through hard work over a long period of time — and still has setbacks. People who are looking for the perfect church to join are doomed to spend their lives in frustration — or denial.

It was a newspaper article that got me to thinking about this the other day. It was an interview with a woman about a marriage enrichment program she and her husband had attended. She allowed that her biggest takeaway from the weekend was the shattering of a myth she had picked up somewhere along the way in her life. The myth she named was thinking that the key to a happy and lasting marriage was finding "the perfect mate" who would make her happy.

She was determined to live differently from her discovery that such a delusion actually complicates and undermines happiness. Finding that her first husband was a less-than-perfect male of the species, she had divorced him after three years. Now, only two years into another marriage, she and her second husband were in trouble. Thus they had attended the seminar.

I don't want to be overly simplistic here. It isn't enough to acknowledge that the world is imperfect, and it isn't a noble thing to take whatever is dished out to you. There are times when the right thing is to leave a job or company, protect oneself from an abusive mate, or leave a troubled church. But some people may be looking to find what no one has ever had — or ever will attain.

Because we are fallible humans in a complex world whose history is polluted with a horrible accumulation of foibles, the delusion that one's goal for living is to discover and live the idyllic state is simply that — a delusion.

There are ways to make the current situation better!
Your wiser course may be in finding a way to make the present situation a bit better, instead of abandoning it in search of non-existent perfection.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God (Romans 8:18-21).