I hate it when the night doesn’t go the way I expect. I’m on my way home, feeling good, have a plan and then BAM. The waterfall. Flows from nowhere, but the truth is it’s not flowing from nowhere; I know EXACTLY where it’s coming from and why I suddenly found myself balling my eyes out for an hour. Evening plans for personal productivity: fail.
But here’s the catch. Despite this unexpected change of plans, I’m not allowed to reschedule. Rearrange, sure, but time doesn’t stop and wait for my emotional relapses to finish before moving on to the next moment. This “hard fact of life” has been driving itself into my heart, soul and mind this past year. It hasn’t been a good year. I’ve failed a lot.
I actually started off the year with a failure! My New Year’s Resolution was to blog every single day of 2013. FAIL. That was actually my second year in a row to choose an overly ambitious resolution. (2012 was to remember every single person’s birthday – WHO AM I KIDDING!!!?) There were also multiple projects that I just ended up tripping and falling over. And here this metaphor means I failed by quitting and pulling out, two actions that make my blood curdle on an overly ambitious day. I forgot about my dad’s birthday. I never got my sister’s birthday present in the mail. I still have a ton of postcards I bought in Bali that I never sent out. (I went in February.) I won’t even go into the financial, emotional and relational failures.
But then there’s days like today. Today, I read an entire book, experienced a new place in Taiwan, and spent all day on the beach. And then my evening plans were interrupted by a tear fest.
I can’t control these things! No one can control these things! And I don’t know why I haven’t blacked out the word fail from my dictionary. Because it is a terrible, crippling and all-around demoralizing term. It’s one thing to use the word in jest (which I do all the time) but it’s another when I start using it to describe my life.
My life is not characterized by my failures, and the direction I go in IS NOT determined by every time I… fail. My life is a story of grace, because grace is there for me every time plans change, every time unexpected waterfalls of tears are running down my face and every time I fail.
There is ALWAYS grace. And grace makes up for all the lost time, which really wasn’t lost at all. It was simply redirected, re-routed, re-worked. Remember, we don’t control these things.
Grace comes in the form of friends, family, loved ones. Co-workers, students, teachers. A song, a book, a breath-taking view. A trip somewhere. A free dinner. A kind word. My pride as blinded me from this grace for too long. My pride focuses on the failure.
Well, I have something to say to you, Pride. You’re cutting off my air supply. Because my heart cannot breathe without Grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”