Thursday, June 9, 2011

Failure teaches


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,

9 comments:

Brian Miller said...

failures do teach us, i have a hard time with living in them though as they become their own prison no matter how you paint the walls...

LauraX said...

deep wisdom... compassion for our failings rather than shame is what heals and teaches us to practice kindness. Compassion for our mistakes allows us to grow and live the way we know is most sacred.

HopeUnbroken said...

so much in this one writing!
"my sorry must become an action." and that is where so much of the healing takes place.
thanks for the sharing.

Kati patrianoceu said...

Wow, this is tough! It's hard to cover but maybe even harder to know you've been covered for because we all want to feel like we can handle it. Thanks for sharing the process.

life or something like it said...

so true, this learning from our failures.
you captured me with your title and held me the whole way through.

emily wierenga said...

ahh, poverty of spirit... i am always bankrupt. this is so tender and vulnerable. thank you.

kkrige said...

Failings - such a harsh reaction. We walk this path of life and do the best we can. We set ourselves up with expectations. Some often too high to ever be able to meet. I have castigated myself on many an occasion, but know that another in my shoes I would bolster and raise above the hurtful words barbed at self. it sounds like you have a gift at communication though, so will hopefully find a way through your storm with him.

Anna said...

Being poor in spirit, and the failures that teach us; stronger stories, and character, come from our failing than from always succeeding. Thanks for sharing.

Kath said...

Thank you for all these kind comments.
Kath