Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Failure. The word in and of itself invokes this sort of fear in people. Oh no, does she know something? Did she find out that I am not succeeding. Nobody wants to fail.
But really what is failure. Is it only when other people look at you and say that did not turn out like it should of and you get a fat F? How do they know it didn't turn out like it should? When a child "fails" a grade at school and gets held back, did they really fail? Or do they just need a second chance at it. If you get fired from your job did you fail? If you default on your mortgage and lose your house did you fail? And in all of these scenarios if you answer is yes, then who did you fail? Yourself? Your family? God?
Success. That invokes a whole new feeling. Pride. A small smile at all of the things in your life that you are doing awesome at. My children are obedient, I have a nice house, I am moving up in my job. I read my Bible daily, and pray and go to church. I am definitely successful.
None of these things listed above are at all what I would put into categories of failure or success. I think these ideas are sort of ambiguous anyway. Failure sort of has this idea of being final. Well you failed at that and you suck. But there is only one thing that is final. Death. Other than that you can have another chance. You can try at something new. If you were held back in school you did better the next year. You were able to learn from the past and move forward. There are lots of things that you don't get a second chance at (parenting). However even if things went really wrong and you can't redo it or fix it, you can still learn from it. And if you learn from it you have not failed.
I think one of the hardest things for me in the idea of success/failure is the American dream. Owning a nice home, children going to a good school, having two cars, sending your children to college one day, making lots of money so you can buy nice things, and one day retire. Those things aren't bad in and of them self. However not having those things is not bad either. I have no desire to own a home in the suburbs so my children can go to a nice school. I am most days content with not making very much money. I love only having one car. I don't have a preference one way or another that Abigail go to college. I only want her to follow what God has called her to in life. And I can honestly say that although my flaws as a mother and wife are many, and although we have little in the eyes of the world, I feel successful.
I enjoy trying to spend the least amount of money possible on groceries. Jason and I have learned to make some fun stuff at home (pizza dough, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, bread) from scratch because it is much cheaper. I like knowing when I change Abigail's cloth diapers (and made her baby food) that I wasn't doing what was easiest. I was doing what was best for our families finances. I like finding great deals at garage sales, having a home that looks simple, and enjoying date nights where we sit and drink a McDonald's soda. I love that we aren't part of every club, or class for Abigail. Instead we spend lots of time at home as a family, or figure out free things to do. I love that Jason doesn't want me to get a job outside of the home, and that he will not work/volunteer lots of extra hours because he values his family more than money. I guess all of this is summed up best by saying I love that we are not striving to succeed.
I will take us failing at the American dream (and lots of other things I'm sure). Because Friday night we sat at home and ate warm sugar cookies and drank homemade chai while talking to each other. And feeling content and happy and overjoyed with where we are in life is all the success I need.
Enjoying our failure,