Today is my 41st birthday. I woke up pensive. Maybe it’s the rain but I’m certain that was dialed in to heaven on my behalf. I enjoy the gray more than most. It seems to hush all the other boisterous primary colors and I need that at times.
Birthdays tend to be reflective times. I think it’s because it’s a mile marker of sorts. A tally mark on the wall that measures growth. With that comes some half-full perspective, and some half-empty, too. We see where we’ve come but not without seeing how far we’ve yet to go. It’s a tension, for sure, but we need the pull of both to remain in our working present. We can’t do much about yesterday or tomorrow — only today.
Been trying to assess my greatest leaps this year as opposed to sulking over my falls. Failures are simply part of finding success and I’m learning to be more comfortable with them. I remember a time when I was terrified to fail. I think it had its root in pride and honestly, if I avoided failure I could avoid dealing with the deeply seated self-loathing underneath. I can’t deny that my most disastrous failures have come with a sliver of silver lining. That lining is the relinquishing of the fear of blowing it big time. I have imploded and I’m still alive to tell the tale. Bizarre how coming face to face with your greatest fear can actually help you to overcome it. Not that anyone is in a sprint to get there but if you find yourself there, just across that “finished” line is an eery letdown.
When you find you’ve hit rock bottom, that means there’s only one direction to go — up. Oftentimes it’s the sting of that collapse that makes every minor victory that follows, a major one. I don’t know why we measure our failures in miles and our success in inches. Tis human nature, I suppose, to discredit before we would give credit. I just know that whipping myself with my past failures has never produced a better tomorrow, or a better me for that matter.
So, with this weighing station that is my birthday, I want to keep my eyes fixed on the prize. No ruminating over my wreckage. This is a mighty leap for a girl who has struggled with an accusing and harsh conscience. Speaking and dealing kindly with myself has been a very foreign practice. While I have become well-versed in encouraging others, I have reserved my most vicious words for myself. I don’t want to carry that into my 41st year on this earth.
Failures can be a bloody mess but I am not convinced that hemorrhaging on the inside is any better. Today I’m more okay with saying I don’t know, or I can’t, or I won’t. I’m also more at ease with saying I will learn, I can, and I will. I’m not where I’d like or hoped to be, but I’m also not where I once was. I’ve made some devastating detours and I’ve even lost my way entirely. Yet, here I am, still living (by the scandalous grace of God) through the very things I feared would be the end of me. In coming to civil terms with my failures, I wonder if I will ever be able to “kiss the wave” that took me out. Perhaps. Moving ahead I want to see the full array of redemption displayed. This means it’s all for good, no matter how wicked or wretched. I’m calling the glass half-full today and filling the rest of that yet-to-be space with gratitude for where I’ve come.