I often use this blog to talk about faith and family, the two most important things in my life. Today I want to talk about a third “F” word, one which is unlikely to show up on anyone’s list of favorite things: failure.
Failure is a constant in my life. I have failed professionally, spiritually, and socially. I have failed at every stage of my life. I have failed on several fronts today, alone. For example, this blog was supposed to have been posted by 6:00am. When my phone alerted me to an unknown message at 5:45am, I knew it was my editor. Before some of you even rolled over this morning, I had met my first failure of the day.
Thank goodness, that I am not known for my failures. If I were, you would call me “Legion”, for there are too many to name.
Failure is a great teacher. How else would I have learned what doesn’t work? Beyond that, failure has taught me that failing is not the worst thing on earth. I was a straight A student from the first through 7th grade. I nearly lost my mind when I got that first B. (I know some of you are thinking that a B is far from failing. But for me, it felt like the world was crashing down around me).
I have to tell you, though, it didn’t take long for me to slip into being comfortable with receiving grades that were less than the best. By senior year, I received an F in math. I didn’t earn an F, but it was the grade I received because the teacher and I couldn’t see eye to eye. I mean literally. According to a classmate, when he got up to teach, I instinctively turned around and started talking to someone else.
It was the only failing grade I ever received, but that’s only because after college you no longer receive letter grades. If someone were to grade me now, on things like timeliness, tidiness, or tactfulness, I’m not sure I could pass.
I have failed, but I am not a failure. I acknowledge my failures, but I am not at all comfortable in them. I am striving to do better. I believe the only way to ultimately fail is to stop trying…and if you know me, that’s not something I’m likely to do.