Fail Better

11 May

“Ever tried?  Ever failed?  No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”  ~ Samuel Beckett

My mother was a good cook.  No, make that a great cook.  Not only was she a great cook, she was a great baker as well.  Her pastries were out of this world and her pie crusts?  Well, you could not find flakier crusts.  Her meals were always tasty and made to perfection.  I don’t think she ever made anything I didn’t like.

She was not always a good cook, though.  She credits her cooking skills to her father, my grandfather.  Mom would tell the story of how she learned to cook.  Grandma would set her up in the kitchen and coach her in making some part of the meal.  Mom would tell me that her first meals were horrendous.  Yet, when Grandpa would sit down at the table, he would eat what he was served.  On the days that Mom was sure her meal was really bad, Grandpa would look at her with the love and devotion of a father to a daughter, smile, and ask for seconds.

Years later, Grandpa would tell her how much courage and fortification he would have to summon to ask for those wretched seconds.  However, in the asking, he was communicating to my mom that she was doing as good a job as possible.  That made Mom want to do better.  As she practiced in the kitchen more and more, she became very proficient.

If she would have let her initial failures in the kitchen affect her, she might have quit trying and would never have become the cook and baker that she turned out to be.  We all face challenges.  Many times, we allow our failures to get in the way of our trying any further.

Some of us may have tried to increase the fervor of our relationship with God, in short, to get more holy.  Yet, the prayers that we may have tried, the devotions we may have attempted, may have fallen flat and we might have become discouraged and quit.  God is like my grandfather.  He is not concerned with the superiority of our product, He is pleased with our willingness to try, to struggle, and to pick ourselves up and try again when we have failed.

Every great invention that we have ever seen has come after a huge string of failures.  If the people who produced them would have stopped, we might never have half the things in our life that have made things better for us.  Don’t let failure get you down.  Try again.  There is a success waiting, perhaps right around the corner.  God is smiling at your attempt, holding His hand out to you, and asking, “Could I have more?”

FAITH ACTION: Pick up the pieces of something in your faith life that you have neglected because of failures and try again.  God will be pleased with your effort.