#79: Find Another Way

#79: Find Another Way

I am in the middle of a failure.

There was this thing that I wanted to do. So I approached it intellectually, did my research, weighed my options, and embarked on the journey. This is what I do. It’s all up here for a while at first (you can’t see me, but I’m making crazy circles around my head).

I don’t like to fail. I’m a driven first-born, competitive (pretty much against myself – so would that be called ‘perfectionism?’ Surely not…), and hell-bent on figuring stuff out. God gave me a pretty good brain, so usually when I use it to make decisions and try things, I am successful – weigh options, calculate risks, decide, and GO.

What drives a girl like me bananas is that I can’t figure it out – why this failure? I am so frustrated when I am incapable of understanding something – especially myself, who I’ve had the better part of 40-some years to figure out.

So at first I went all dramatic with this. “What am I, Job?” I said, eyes to the ceiling. In the last seven months, I’ve lost my father and grandmother, had a BIG life scare last week (everything’s OK), and have been dealing with a herniated disc/neck and hand pain. And then this failure.

Then I read in a blog I follow about a family who lost their days-old baby to a virus that is common to you and I, but deadly (and random) for a newborn.

I stopped talking about Job.

This morning, I read an oldie but goodie:

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Huh. I’ll tell you right now, that’s not what I was doing. So maybe…BE more spiritual, commune with God more, live in the awareness of his presence more? While I am a real-life, no kidding, true believer and Christian, a mind tic develops at this logic, a leftover of my fundamentalist upbringing. ‘Things not going your way? Try to earn more gold stars until you’ve won God back over and he’ll reward you with success!’ Bleh. And yet…

This afternoon during nap time, I finished rereading one of my favorite books. I’m hesitant to tell you the title, as I assert that this is the worst title for a great book: 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life. (Seriously, Dr. Cloud, could it sound any more like a stack of self-published books sold out of the trunk of a guy’s car? Or a late-night infomercial? But I digress…)

The nine principles he discusses provide a ton of inspiration for a person who wants to live her/his life with some amount of intentionality. In the last chapter – my read for today – his number one assertion for applying the nine principles is to embark on life’s journeys in community. You can’t do it alone, he says.

Again – huh.

And again – that’s not what I was doing. In fact, that is the opposite of what I was doing. And yet, the idea of that befuddles and annoys me.

It’s not that I don’t have people. I do. But undeniably, I feel the need for some deeper community, somehow, somewhere. Probably perfectly normal in my stage of life.

(Those of you familiar with our brand of church may wonder why we’re/I’m not finding this in a small group. Oh, the stories we could tell…but I won’t. At least not yet.)

A question that undeniably arises with failure is this: Is the goal itself the problem, or the path I’ve chosen?

Back when I was first in graduate school a million years ago (20 = a million), I was inducted into the world of special education with a number of even-then-dated videos. Probably because my hilarious roommate Kelli and I adopted some of the phraseology into our repertoire of personal jokes, I remember this one in particular. A teacher was sitting at a table with a young girl with a disability, and when she would try to do something like fit a square peg into a round hole, he just kept saying, “Find another way. Find another way.” That sticks with me, and sometimes I hear that guy in my head, kindly and hypnotically saying to me, “Find another way.”

SO – to sum up – I had a big hairy audacious goal (thank you for those words, Jim Collins). I failed. Now what? I don’t know. I’m not going to wrap this up with a big bow and tell you what I’ve resolved, because I haven’t yet.

But I do wonder – anyone else out there a fellow fail-er?

Melissa sig

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