Failures

Book of Face: Ch 5, Verses 51-55

“Am I failing, or succeeding in stages?”

The road of life.
We cruise along with our destination on the horizon. We think we know the path from here to there.
We map it out. We make a plan. We take action. We drive.
We cruise along happily to the sounds of the radio in our head, our personal soundtrack.
Things are good. Progress is made. We reach waypoints on our journey. We stop for rests on the way. We keep advancing towards that horizon line. That magical point in our future when we have accomplished all that we set out to do.
Nothing can stop us. We are the masters of our own destiny. Champions of our lives, of fate.

But occasionally things don’t always go according to plan.
We become complacent. We don’t own the road, it owns us.
We become lax in our vigilance. We become sleepy travellers.
We fall asleep at the wheel…

Wham!
We come to with our mind reeling.
“What the heck was that?!”
Confusion sets in.
“Where are we? How did we get here? What happened?”
We pull over and asses the situation.

“Where did we go wrong?”
We are forced to take a moment out of our journey to get things straight.

“But our deadline! We had a plan! What are we gonna do now?”
These are our first reactions.
Anger, disappointment, frustration.
“Now we’ll never get there!”
We blame ourselves.
“How could we have been so stupid!? How could we let this happen?”
We look at our past mistakes.
“If only we hadn’t stopped on the way. If only we had been paying more attention. If only we had stuck to the plan this would never have happened.”
We second guess ourselves.
“We should have never come this way. We should have known better than to try this. We should have stayed home”
We think about giving up.
“Maybe we should turn around and go back…”

We all do it.
When things go wrong we berate ourselves for our failures. Our presumed shortcomings.
We question ourselves and not the road.

But what do we know of the road?
Yeah we saw the map, traced it’s line from start to destination. Thought we knew it’s twists and turns, it’s hills and valleys, it’s beginning and it’s end.
But a map is not the road.
It represents it. Gives us an idea, an approximation of what it looks like, what it feels like, the smells and sounds on it’s course.
But a map is not a road.

The only way to know the road is to drive it. To start at the start and drive it to it’s end.
And on the way we smell it’s smells, hear the sounds, see the sights, and feel it’s life.
Experience it.
Climb the hills, descend the valleys, follow the twists, take the turns.
And stop when we must.
Because sometimes we need those moments to reflect on the road, and our journey on it.
Our place on the road. Our place in the world.

These “failures” as we call them, these stops on the road, these delays in our journey, perhaps they’re not really failures at all.
Maybe they’re time for reflection.
Sure they suck at the time. They make us feel small and stupid. They make us feel unworthy of the road. Like we’re not good enough for this journey. Like we were never meant to leave home, never meant to experience something new, something novel, something exciting, something profound.

But perhaps they’re just a part of the road.
The part where we pull over and look at where we came from, look to where we’re going.
See the road not from the road, but from the shoulder. Take in all we were missing while we stared ahead at that horizon, at that finish line.
When instead of thinking about how many miles there were to go, we look back and see how far we’ve come.
Oh how far we’ve come.
From those silly children we once were, wandering aimlessly, to those driven people we have and are becoming.
These failures are the time when we should focus on the strides we have made, the people we once were, the people we have become.
Look at the best parts of ourselves at all those points on the road. The times we overcame adversity, the times we helped a fellow traveller, the times we shared a moment, the love we gave and the love we received. The beauty we created, and the amazing people we have had the good fortune to know.
And instead of looking ahead and seeing how distant our goal looks, think instead of all the moments we’ll have on that journey. The further our destination, the more amazing moments there will be. The more travellers we’ll meet, the more love that can be shared, the more challenges to be overcome, the more we can grow.

Ready?

Take one last look back.
See those people you were.
Remember that they live inside you.
You are all their best attributes combined.
You are the culmination of their journey.
And you can only get better.

Now buckle up.
Get back on the road.
Enjoy the ride.

Namaste, and may all your failures remind you of your many successes.

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