I long to tell stories of my triumphs. To be able to rest satisfied that I have done it, and done it well.
But the replays in my mind are not triumphs. They are wired into memory by the wrench of disappointment in my stomach. I have spoken with clumsy words, or chosen the wrong reaction, or just run out of time to do what is needed.
I listened as he told me of his shame. The shame he felt when he had to cover for me. To explain my mistake and he knew he could not. He didn't call it shame, but he told me how he couldn't stop the laughter escaping from his chest and he couldn't explain. He had to leave. Abruptly.
The laughter mystified him and he searched for neurological explanations. He framed it as an opportunity to learn. And he didn't want to hear my apology. He was so gracious that he wouldn't allow himself to blame me, so he couldn't face 'sorry'. It was then we talked of shame and I realised how deeply it had shaken him.
My sorry must become an action. Speaking it is irrelevant if I continue to leave him exposed and without an answer. So I work harder at my list and try to do it better. I know this will not cover all my weaknesses, but this small, particular exertion is important. Because I have seen his vulnerability. Just as I have seen his faithful perserverence.
I must listen to this exposition of my failure and learn from it. Know that I am poor in spirit, but that that itself brings its own blessings. And I realise that the memories based in failure and disappointment, in myself, are the ones that really teach me. Painful though they are.
Sharing with Emily,