We Call it Failure (And That’s Life)

Sometimes, we fail. At least, that’s what it feels like.

I was so excited. In my regular list-driven way, I went to bed going over the items that I needed to have packed and ready for the next morning. Baby Girl and I were headed to small town Saskatchewan to see an old college friend and her little one for a visit that was long overdue.

Admittedly, I was also very nervous.

Despite being 9 months and 2 overnight road trips into this Motherhood thing, there was a small part of me that still felt like everything would be so much easier if I just stayed home or made a small trip to Wal-Mart instead. Of course, it would’ve been, but I was determined that this time, I wasn’t going to let my fears stop me from a little adventure.

Then came the warnings of freezing rain, followed by a sudden panic of “Do I go, or not?” With a pep talk from my husband, I decided to go.

Then came the sudden wake up 30 minutes into Baby Girl’s nap in the car, followed by nonstop scream-crying, and a refusal to drink more than a few ounces of milk. I decided to keep going.

Then came the snow in a sudden blizzard-like fashion that slowed our travel to a snail’s pace. I decided to keep going.

Then came the deer that decided to run out in front of both me and the oncoming traffic of semi-trucks. I decided to keep going.

But every other minute, I seemed to be asking God, “Should I keep going, or go back home?” And honestly… I was so very unsure. By this time, I had stopped to text my friend, asking about how bad the weather was at her home. I had also called my husband yet again (ahem… in sobs) because Baby Girl was still screaming and I was parked on the side of a narrow, snow covered lane. I was now over half way there, but between the weather, and a very unhappy, overtired, likely hungry little girl…

I was done.

2.5 hours into our drive, I decided to turn around and go back home.

I felt defeated, and like a failure. And when the sun came out on the way home, and my darling fell back asleep… I felt completely ashamed.

“Why can’t I do this?”

To every student who has worked hours to study for a test… only to get a “C”.

To every athlete who has stretched their body to train… only to come in 4th.

To every woman who has tried absolutely everything to have a baby… only to find the test negative.

To every young adult, with a degree in hand… only to walk out of another rough interview.

You get it, don’t you?

“It’s life”. It’s hard. We work, and we try, and we pray, and we “pep talk” ourselves until we believe we’re actually getting somewhere, only to fall short of whatever bar we’ve placed before us.

For some reason, the “Formula” isn’t working, and we aren’t getting to where we think we need to be, even though it looks likes it’s working for everyone else.

That entire drive home, between the thoughts of shame and defeat, I tried to remind myself of every word I ever told my students –

That it wasn’t about the grade on the report, but about the growth to get there, no matter where they started from. It’s about the progress, not the product. Otherwise – our minds, our faith, our bodies – never get out of the parking garage.

We stay just where we are.

We don’t grow.

It’s been over a week, and I’m still chewing my own words. But I’ve got a friend waiting for me in Saskatchewan who’s cheering me on because, as she’s pointed out to me, those 5 hours spent in the car are 5 hours I wouldn’t have been able to do a few months ago.

And that’s progress, that’s learning, that’s growth; that’s coming to trust that God is pulling me in the right direction no matter how hard it hurts.

But it’s not failure.

(And THAT is Life).

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2 thoughts on “We Call it Failure (And That’s Life)

  1. Lisa, I enjoyed reading your post and really appreciated your comments that focused on how we need to focus on progress rather than the end result. For as you write, progress means movement forward. It means steps have been taken. And if we take enough steps, the progress will eventually achieve the end result. Your comments are a great reminder that we are so hard on ourselves when we think in terms of absolutes, black and whites, all or nothing, failure or success. And we can be encouraged by thinking in terms of take steps and progressing. One step at a time. Thanks for your post.

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