A few days ago I drove into town to run a few errands. I had Charity with me at the time and had grabbed my item off the store shelf and went and stood in the checkout line. In front of me was a mom with her little girl, the little girl was about 4 or 5 years old with big brown eyes and big brown curls.
The moment I got in line, the little girl turned to me and said “Where’s your boy?”.
Her mother looked up and saw she was talking to me and said “Sh Sh, leave the lady alone.”
I turned to the mother and said “It’s alright, I don’t mind.” Talking to children, either my own or those of others, is often my favorite way to pass time while standing in a checkout line. The mother gave me a half-smile and turned her attention to purchasing her items.
I turned to the little girl and said “My boy is at home. I have 3 boys, but they didn’t come with me, they’re all at home with their daddy right now.” That answer seemed to satisfy her.
She then looked down at my hand, at the item I was planning to purchase. She pointed at it and said “What’s that?”
The day before I had been filling out forms for medical insurance and had gotten frustrated when I couldn’t find the White-Out to fix a mistake I had made on the form.
I looked down at my item and replied “This is White-Out, it’s for covering up the mistakes I make when I’m writing.”
She seemed slightly puzzled by that. She looked down at the item again and then up at me, her big brown eyes staring right into mine in that clear, honest, innocent way that only a child can and she said “Well, maybe you should keep the mistakes.”
I paused for a moment, chuckled slightly and then smiled at her and said “Yeah, maybe I should.”
She smiled back.
At that exact moment her mother, who had finished purchasing her items and had turned to leave, called out “Trinity, come on we’re leaving!”. Trinity then gave me a small wave and ran off to join her mother.
Trinity. I chuckled to myself again. OK, Father I hear you.
After all, what is a life without mistakes? A life not lived.
We’re put here on this planet earth to experience life as a journey, not for the physcial body but for the soul, the true self. A journey of transformation in which we learn about God and about ourselves. Usually we start out whole, losing ourselves somewhere along the way, finding ourselves again and in that process finding God, and then gradually passing away from this world into God to become our Eternal Whole REAL SELF that is in HIM.
Mistakes are a big part of this process and yet we all try so hard to cover them up, to act like we never make any and to pretend that we always know exactly what we are doing. But, I daresay, if we allow a mistake to be what it is…our teacher…we can learn far more from a mistake than we ever can from any “right decision” we have made.
Mistakes are an essential thread in the tapestry of life that we are all in the process of weaving, and if we pulled out every mistake then not only would the final picture be distorted and not make any sense, but the entire thing would fall apart….a pile of threads, of no good to any person.
Mistakes, more than any “right decision” reveal most who exactly we are as people, our inherent drives and weaknesses…what makes us tick…which may explain why we all try so hard to cover them up.
And there is no law written in stone somewhere that says you can never fix a mistake or try to improve the effects of one….after all, as the saying goes “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing (making the same mistake) over and over again while expecting different results.”
The best way to learn from a mistake is to absorb and retain the lesson it is meant to teach you and then get on with LIFE!! Move on to the next mistake, the next lesson there is to learn, and at the end of life you will look back to see a beautiful tapestry of complex design and many colors….one that shines forth with the brilliance of a life well-lived, showing the character of a person who never gave up.
Yes, from now on I will keep the mistakes 🙂
(originally published on March 9, 2011 on my facebook page)