As I rubbed my eyes and adjusted to light, I scanned my email for the usual ennui that makes its way in. Delete. Delete. But today, one caught my eye, a post by Randy Bohlender: The Sacred Try.
I read, gobbling up the abbreviated version of his successes and failures. And what he thinks God thinks about all the trying we do down here. These words brought me to tears:
"I have come to think of starting things – of trying – as almost sacramental. It is a sacred thing to hear from God and go for it. I actually even think it’s sacred if you heard wrong. Your try is that honorable to Him."
This healed me, a cool, refreshing water of truth over the wound of failure and the belief that trying and not getting it right was not being right. That down there at the bottom of me, something was just wrong.
The sanctity of the attempt is powerful. It is pleasing to God, makes him happy that I'm here doing something, dreaming, imagining, figuring it out alongside his spirit.
Failure and success are funny things. I mean, I've seen all the trying and failing as such a curse. But what if I succeeded at everything I started? I would never have married Josh. I would've married that kid I dated when I was 15. Or the guy I dated in fifth grade. Oh boy.
If I never failed at anything, I would have way more than one child. I would have written several books. I would have hundreds of friends. I would have multiple jobs. I would fall over dead from all the success. And I would never be able to do anything new because I would constantly be managing the couple things I started back in childhood that went viral in a day. Succeeding at everything, now that would be a real curse.
Just for posterity, and because I like to laugh, here are a few of my sacred trys from history:
My friend, Rochelle, and I started a neighborhood newsletter when I was seven or eight. The idea was to interview our families and neighbors and get a pulse of what was happening locally. We created one, on paper, hand-written. It took hours. Got old quickly. The second edition never came out.
At eight or nine, another friend and I were driving in the car with my grandmother and we overheard her talking about a crime that happened recently, a crime which was still an unsolved mystery. My friend and I decided for a few minutes to start a detective agency to get to the bottom of it.
When I was eleven, I designed a placemat with my name on it, had it laminated and brought it to school for lunches. My friends liked it and wanted their own designed. Aware of the fiscal limitations of fifth graders, I set a low start-up price of $1 and began taking orders. Until my neighbor who laminated my placemat design said he wouldn't be able to do it anymore. I never gave those kids their money back - still feel bad about that.
When we were 14, I could sing like Alanis and Jazzy could sing like TLC. She learned the guitar and I, well, I just sang. We decided to call our band NAVY, which I ripped off a popular perfume I saw on her dresser. Don't know if I ever told her that. We wrote a few songs, from what I recall, but I didn't read music so they were just words. Not set to music, that's all songs are anyway. And that's what they stayed.
These ideas feel like gold to me when they come. There are so many all the time. I've always been that way. These days, ideas often come to me as websites. They are usually places people can gather to interact and talk, share life stories of a certain idea, swap resources and support each other. I have yet to figure out how to actually create an interactive forum like this. But I need to get it quick.
I also think of neighborhood projects where I will meet all my neighbors. Because going up to them and introducing myself is too dull, apparently.
Last fall it was the "Get to know your neighbor project," a plan in which I would meet three neighbors a week by baking them cookies and taking an hour to just chat with them. Josh wouldn't let me do it since I was too maxed. He was right.
A few weeks ago I thought of giving one of my neighbors an award mug that said "Good Neighbor Award". The idea is that every week, the person with the mug pays it forward to another "good neighbor" until it gets around the city. I wanted to plant at least 15 of them within theWELL and see what happened. This idea is not out of commission yet. On the side burner, if there is one.
At the end of the year I bought a website as an experiment. It was supposed to be resource for soldiers on the issue of sleep, something I'm becoming quite well-versed in with my work with this population. Then I discovered a brilliant website that was doing everything I wanted to do, times 50, with prettier graphics and better sponsorship. I sidelined the project, naturally, and redirect people to the really good website when needed. Makes me smile now, the absurdity of it.
And of course, my friend, Jessica, and I have been meaning to write this book on, um, relationships, and a particular complicating and little understood aspect to them. I'm starting to develop a survey on it now. It could bring healing to so many, to be able to share their stories and meet other women in the same situation. Ah, the magnitude of it is exhilarating and terrifying. As it always is.
I'm gonna need a cool name for the book. And an interactive website.
See, this is how I think. It's a wonder I get anything done at all. I just bought a website today because it sounded cool. The Colour of Justice (.com). It is cool, isn't it? What will I do with it? I have no idea. But I'm sure I will get one.