1 Jul 2014

When my son wailed 'I'm a failure!" and it spoke so much wisdom...

The routine was usual enough. Parents and caregivers stood around the school gate area waiting for the boys in blue and white to appear, noise first. As my son walked down the slope towards me, I noticed his expression of concern-unhappiness.

"Hi son!"
"Mom, I failed my Chinese! I AM A FAILURE!"

Needless to say, I promptly corrected his thinking. 'You failed your Chinese son. That is not the same as you are a failure....". But soon enough, God would have to remind me of the same.

We don't speak much of failures. But none of us get through life without failing some. 

There are even times when we feel like we are failures, living as we do in a world of successes. 
Today, a woman shares how a poor payment decision led to a huge mess and her losing her job. A few weeks back, a fellow mom watched her son step out of the house and she collapsed in grief.

A few months ago as I was reflecting on my own failings, and found that although it was one specific area of my life, somehow, a fog descended and because it wasn't a situation I could reverse, the failure seem to cling to my soul and began to eat its way inwards. That was when I heard:

... don't let one failing bleed into all your parts ...

God was warning me not to let a failure mark me. I was hurt, disappointed and bleeding in one spot. But if I wasn't careful, that bleed can begin to soak back in and cause me to malfunction.

When I finally met my fellow mom, she talked of how she was drained and struggling, but later got up out of bed to continue to care for the rest of her family. To her surprise, setting her heart on what she could do; she found strength again. She was even able to listen to and felt the pain of another.

Failing is hard for us who have lived a few decades. After all, we think: we are suppose to get better at this thing called 'life'. But sometimes, new things come and it's just hard. Parenting for example is a long journey of new things round every bend. If there is something that humbles us, parenting has to be it. So expecting ourselves to be able to hack life better seriously increases the burden we already carry. We need to allow ourselves to fail.

In fact, I posed this Q to a group of mature executives recently, "did any of you experience recently a surprise that you were not able to do something, or found something challenging?".  Everyone said 'yes'. I laughed out loud and we chimed, "life-long learning!!".

It does take us a life-time to learn about our own lives: why we hurt the way we do, how we heal best, what ways we can still function and even reach out when we feel cut down or diminished. This is the most important learning there is; and alas, it takes failure in the mix to learn it.

We are not a scroll recording accolades and success. We are more a a pot on a wheel going round, experiencing some harsh pressures and pinches as we take shape.

And here, dear friends, are some wonderful shapes that emerge ~

This particular pottery form holds such sweet meaning ~

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