Skip to main content

I am a failure

I spent the weekend on retreat with our beloved Franciscan Sisters. One of the many things we do (my husband and I, and the others lay folks that work with them) is to individually discuss  what we call our creative process, which includes how we deal with crisis. We start with our initial reaction to a crisis. Mine is: "I am a failure".

On the first night of the retreat, we were asked to come up with something from our Franciscan lives, without too much thought - first thing that came to mind, to share with the group as an icebreaker. Mine was "I am a failure".

Now, that's not as horrible as it sounds. I mean, it's only the first step in a long sequence of steps that I go through whenever I face a crisis in my life. It really does get better. But that's always where I start.

There are a lot of reasons for my starting at this place. Most of it has to do with the perfectionist tendencies I have and the willingness to take on the burden of everything in my life, whether it's my responsibility or not. It's where I start. It's not where I end up.

At certain times in my life, this "failure step" is a place I get stuck. It feels like I can't do enough, be enough, talk enough, get anything accomplished fast enough or good enough. I'm betting a lot of people feel like this. The Psalmist David did:
Hasten to answer me, O Lord, for my spirit fails me. Hide not your face from me lest I become like those who go down into the pit. (Psalm 143:7-8)
I cannot think of a more apt way to describe what I've been feeling of late: a failure of spirit, God hiding His face from me, being in a pit. It is an easy place to get stuck.

What's the remedy? It's pretty simple, yet very difficult: staying close to Christ in the sacraments and in prayer. I don't want to pray. It's hard to pray. I feel like a failure even at prayer, but it's the only ladder out of the pit.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…