Creative Writing: Dawn Watching

“Every moment has its purpose in the dawning of the day,” my husband says as we watch the daybreak in minuscule increments of time. “And it’s pretty much like that for all of life, isn’t it?”

I don’t understand the process of darkness making way to light. The dance is so slow that I do not notice the movement, and yet so fast that all of a sudden it’s over–time unexplainably woven into moments of darkness and light, fulfilling a purpose much greater than I understand; moments intrinsically fused into each other and yet precisely different, each one ushering the next purposefully.

I close my eyes and remember a walk in the woods this summer when I met a Great Dane and loved everything about him–to the point of yearning for a dog just like him. But much research left me empty-handed, and I grew more frustrated every day with my desire for a dog.

“You have to just give that longing to God,” my friend Kathy had said to me.

So I had.

“Lord, you know I want a BIG dog, preferably a Great Dane. I know my unsettled heart is not a good thing, so I’m going to leave this yearning into Your hands.” 

Every moment has its purpose. I don’t really know all the ins and outs of my heart, but I know that letting go was just the right thing. I went on living my life with a lightened heart. 

A mere five days later, an email popped up in my inbox from a dog adoption site informing me of a Great Dane available in my area. Flabbergasted, I reread the message a few times. It said what it said.

Two days later, we adopted our HUGE Great Dane Mini. 

There are many layers to Mini’s story, and just like the dawning of the day, each one ushered the next, from my meeting in the woods to Kathy speaking to me, from surrendering my longing to my inbox message, from my husband’s profound statement to the realization of God’s involvement in the ordinary of our lives. 

 

The day has fully dawned by now and my coffee has grown cold. Sunlight fills the air and has invaded every inch of our little sunroom, much like a child’s laughter that bubbles deep from within and spills over. My heart revels in it, and I want to bottle the moment to hold it forever. But then, I remember truth–each moment has its purpose, ushering the next. I cannot hold on to any of them tightly, for each one is the key to the next, and the next. 

 

May I hear God’s unexplainable love story in all the Great Danes of my life. May I understand His ways in the dawning of each new day. 

Failure

Failing and being a Failure

Did this ever happen to you: You were so sure you were doing a great job at something, you even had evidence for your success, and then you found yourself utterly failing.

I have failed so many times lately in my new position as an executive director for a non-profit community centre, and I heard myself saying over and over again, “you are such a loser,” which of course brought negative feelings followed by negative actions with very poor results.

I made my act of failure mean that I myself was a failure. And that is a recipe for disaster.

What Failing Means

Remember the think-feel-act cycle? Your thoughts create your feelings and then your feelings drive your actions. Thoughts create feelings, not “failure.” So when failure seems to create a feeling that drives your action, it’s time to realize that between your apparent failure and your feeling, there was a thought. Failure doesn’t cause you to feel any emotion until you think something about it.

And truthfully, you can choose to decide what you make it mean. Crazy, isn’t it? But true.

When it comes to failure, the problem is not the fail, but what you make the fail mean. When you fail and you think, “I’m never going to figure this out, this is impossible, I don’t have enough discipline, I’m such an embarrassment, something is really wrong with me,” it brings about very negative feelings.

But how you feel has nothing to do with the failure itself. It has everything to do with your thoughts about it.

Your thoughts, what you are making the failure mean, that’s what causes the guilt and the embarrassment and the defeat and the hopelessness and the shame. Not the failure itself.

Learning how to change your perspective on “failure” is so very important.

Failure’s Definition

Maybe it’s time to simply define what failure is. Failure is the omission of expected or required action. It’s simply not honoring your commitment to yourself.

And when this happens, it gets ugly inside your head if you make it mean something terrible about you. Because those negative thoughts create negative emotions, and the more negative emotion you feel, you more you will act in whatever way you need to in order to hide from your negative emotions, which will cause you to never want to try again.

However, what if you decide that failure could be a teacher to you? What if the act of failure was NOT a state of being but rather just an event?

Being on the Path

Here is the key: failure is not the evidence that you are a failure; rather, it is an opportunity for you to use what happened to help you.

Failure is a stepping stone.

You and I are on a journey called life. We always are on the journey. Everything we do, all of our actions, including the ones that don’t work, all of them are leading us to the thing that will work for us as long as we are willing to open our eyes. We don’t need to tell ourselves that when we “fail,” we have to start all over.

We can use failure as an opportunity to learn how our brain works, how we think, what we make things mean, and we can start to shift and change that.

Does this make sense to you? Next time you perceive your result as a failure, try to reframe things so that you can see your results as a stepping stone to the next adventure.

I hope this blog post is useful for you. If so, make sure to share it with someone you love.