The Imperfections of People


The Imperfections of People – Al Getler

“Wrecked” is the title of author Jeff Goins’ new book.

In it, Goins describes people who are ‘wrecked’ as being, “Ruined. Devastated. Undone. Their lives were forever changed, and there was no returning to how life used to be.” Many of the people he writes about had experiences as missionaries at home and aboard. They witness a view of the world that changes them permanently.

Wrecked at a Funeral

This morning I went to a funeral. One eulogist said to treat your family as friends and your friends as family. He said that was how his friend had lived.

Towards the end of the service for the deceased, a young woman stood up and challenged the practice of painting a picture of martyrdom and sainthood about the dead. She went on to say that the very person we were there to mourn was neither a saint and nor a martyr.

She then described this person’s battle with alcohol and that they had two distinct personalities. She wasn’t even sure that she had a good relationship with this person at times, but she knew they loved each other.

The speaker was 18-years-old. The person that had died was her father.

This brave, intelligent and eloquent teenager spoke with the “Wisdom of Solomon.” Her husky, alto voice ran through my veins like ice water. Her observations of her imperfect father made my head spin. I was worried a friend or family member might boo her away from the microphone. But the funeral attendees listened to every syllable. The feeling of the pain of truth was palpable.

The young woman assured the mourners that she loved her father very much. She also was sure that he loved her and was very proud of her.

We were reminded by the young woman that people are human and imperfect. She loved her drunken father and she loved her sober father. She reminded us that we were stuck with our family and that loving them was our only choice as we are all imperfect.

I was wrecked.

After a few brief comments and a prayer, the young woman picked up a guitar and sang with soul and dark passion the song “There Are Places I Remember” by The Beatles.

I was more than wrecked. I had been run over by a tractor-trailer driven by a girl who had not seen the first day of college quite yet.

The people around me were wrecked, too.

The Imperfections of People We Work With

My eyes drifted towards the people from our company. The man had been their coworker. They had been shocked by his brief illness and sudden death and they were now wrecked by this unexpected look into his life outside of work.

Substance abuse of any kind is hard. It can ruin friendships and devastate families. It can turn nice people into obnoxious or even violent people.

Alcohol abuse sneaks up on many people. We justify it as just ‘stopping for a drink’ or just ‘having a good time’. We can overlook the devastating affect it can have on those closest to the alcoholic.

The young woman said that people are imperfect and that we are stuck with our family. She could have also been talking about our work life.

People at work are imperfect. We are often stuck with the people we work with each day.

The young woman also called for us to love our family as we are all imperfect. The same applies to our coworkers.

The next time I judge someone, I will remember my own imperfections. I will remember that people are as imperfect as I am. I will remember that there are things happening in others personal lives that I may not know about. Like alcoholism or an ill family member or some other problem.

Jeff Goins is right. Being wrecked changes our outlook.

Today an 18-year-old girl bravely showed me the realities of imperfection. And she chose her father’s funeral to teach the importance of embracing it.

If you know someone suffering from alcoholism please refer them to your organization’s Employee Assistance Program or to a nearby Alcoholic Anonymous meeting at

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Al Getler is a newspaper, website, book and magazine publisher. He is also a comedian/ventriloquist and a speaker on leadership, customer service and personal branding.


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