Perfection and Purpose



As students, it is easy to feel inadequate in our studies, social circles, and everyday endeavors here at BYU. No matter how hard we try, sometimes our imperfections are all too clear before us. A few weeks ago, my friend told me about an experience she had that helped her overcome such discouraging thoughts.

While at a women’s conference, my friend was told to pick up a leaf and rate it from one to ten on how perfect it was. She noticed the tattered ends, broken veins, and flimsy stem and rated it as a five. Others around her at the meeting also gave their leaves ratings, resulting in a variety of rankings, some high and others low. Then the person conducting the meeting asked them to rate the leaf on how well it was fulfilling its purpose. After some confusion, the woman teaching the lesson went on to explain what she meant. She spoke of lush green leaves in the summer, absorbing sunlight for the tree. She talked of rich reds and oranges in dying fall leaves and the beauty they bring to the season. She even talked about piles of dead leaves fallen on the ground that gleeful little children throw in the air. In each scenario, the leaf is fulfilling a purpose, just as the leaf in my friend’s hands was fulfilling its purpose in teaching an object lesson.

We may be tattered at the edges, a little aged and worn, and by no means perfect by a worldly standard. However, wherever we are and in whatever condition we may be, we can fulfill our purpose perfectly.


—Jessica Olsen, Editor, Stance