Monday, August 13, 2018

Succeed a Little, Fail a Lot

I suppose its intrinsic to you that emotion comes on like waves, but that doesn't change the fact that sometimes the surf pounds me unaware and drives me into the sand. The force of the ocean dragged me out to sea today. I am a castaway drifting now in the tide.

It all happened in the most unlikely of likely places. We were all in a nice little row, like a Norman Rockwell painting. Myself, my nearly 18 year old son, my wife of some 23 years, my seven and a half year old daughter, and my nearly 15 year old daughter. 

The Connection Point Band led worship and we all were there in a line... the final Sunday before things unexpectedly changed just as we'd planned them. How could this happen, this thing that I've always known would happen? What kind of madness is this... this chronologically, logical day?

We stood there in worship, singing about the enduring love of our good God, and suddenly I was forced to consider that those words were manifested in this life that I share with those beside me. This is the final Sunday service that our family will share together before Caleb leaves home for university.

Life suddenly is making a shift and my own identity is changing... my relationship with my son is changing... the daily ebb and flow of my household... it all just changed.

I'm overwhelmed in the moment and I'm being rolled by the wave. It's knocked me off my feet with a swift sort of violence, and yet I'm smiling in the torrent while the salt of the ocean joins the tears from my face. 

"You are good, you are good, and your love endures..." the words roll off of my tongue and I am now sobbing with my hands held high... because I know that I do not deserve this moment... and yet, here we are.

There was a time not so long ago that marriage and family seemed so bleak. There was a time not so long ago that our faith journey seemed abandoned. There was a time not so long ago that we nearly surrendered everything to our enemy. And yet... by the grace of God we are here today.

"You are good, you are good and your love endures today."

I am forever lost in the flotsam of the ocean. What seemed to be pain, God has used to make something beautiful. While I was aware that people behind us would be watching and drawing conclusions... I knew that I had to be real in the moment and I brought my arm up around the shoulders of my son and I hugged him ever so tightly as I sent up a torrent of thanks to my God.

He is good. He is good and His love is alive in my life today. I am overwhelmed. I do not deserve to be here, and yet I embrace it with every cell of my body! Thank you God. Thank you God. Thank you God.

Caleb, my dear son... you'll find these words online eventually. I don't know when, but I do know that when you do it will be no mistake. I need to tell you that is ok to find some success in this life you now pursue. Success is tricky. It whispers into your ear insidious little lies. You have to fight to keep it real. Humility is a better life-raft than pride. 

But find some success and thank God for the moment. He will be there to greet you in your thankfulness. I found that to be true even today.

More importantly though my son, I give you permission to fail... and to fail a lot. There is nothing better than failure. Failure means you were bold enough to try. Failure means that you are reaching out into undiscovered oceans. Failure means that you've gained experience and knowledge that you didn't have before... and that is now unique to your experience. 

Succeed a little, and fail a lot. Failure is our greatest strength. It reminds us of our place in the universe, our reliance on God, and gives us great confidence to know that we still can exist and float on the other side. 

So let the waves come at you. Let them knock you off of your feet and roll you. Let their undertow transport you. And when you come back up, breath in that salty air and wipe your eyes.

God is good, God is good and His love endures... today.

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