A Joyful Failure….

I normally dislike this time of year very much. In the school systems I have worked in for almost 25 years it is always a time of strained relationships and short tempers. It is also a time when a good teacher perhaps feels least successful. There might be all sorts of variables that play into creating this ‘dark night of the teaching soul’ but it is a common phenomena.

Lately I have had a run of personal and professional failures. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy or merely perceptiveness but this is my ‘brown thumb’ time of year because instead of growing everything I touch seems cursed. This is evidence of a long-established pattern though.

I look back at my life thus far and I don’t see a lot of cause for optimism. I was never a good high school athlete. I was an average college student. The Marine Corps neither gained nor lost much when I was on activity duty and left for greener pastures.  On my good days I am a respectable teacher but it is questionable how many good days I have and I have been spectacularly unsuccessful as a part-time administrator. The latest blow to my ego is flunking a test for school bus drivers during which the instructor said, and I quote, “I have never had anyone fail this test before”. I was somewhat, but not completely comforted when a majority of the class flunked said test. In most circumstances of my life in which I could be measured, I did not measure up.

And yet, still, I am a pretty happy camper.

St. Francis of Assisi is often referred to as “God’s fool” because of the apparently foolish way he led his life, foolish at least to some observers. I think I am a ‘joyful failure’. I have everything worth wanting in my life, even if they don’t come with measurements, ribbons, or certificates. The trick, and there is always a trick, is remembering what my ‘worth havings’ are when the world suggests that  I should measure myself by different standards or strive to achieve certain things.

Another funny thing about being a joyful failure; everything that I have that is worth having came as grace-filled gifts and not through any efforts of my own. In other words, if I strive for worthless things I fail mightily, but my life is filled with priceless things I did nothing to deserve. I have every reason to be filled with joy even if I am a conventional failure. Julian of Norwich was absolutely correct when she said “All will be well, all will be well. All manner of things will be well.”


About Edward

Dishwasher, bartender, cook, house painter, movie usher, Marine helicopter pilot, teacher, administrator, teacher again, retired teacher, Secular Franciscan, Lay Ecclesial Minister- it's been an interesting ride.
This entry was posted in Personal Reflection, Religion/Spirituality, Social Commentary, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

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