Lenten Lights V ~ Shattered Visions
“Failure is an orphan until we give it a narrative.” – Sarah Lewis, The Rise
I’ve been contemplating failure. And I’m inviting you to think with me about it. It is not usually a favorite topic, and yet life is full of failures, endings, losses. Visions can be shattered like eye glasses in a busy parking lot. Failure is a kind of shattered vision. It forces us into a new way of seeing. Maybe what we sought . . . turns out not to be there, or maybe we were looking in the wrong place.
The lectionary texts for the fifth Sunday in Lent consider failure at length . . . and death, and loss, and other depths out of which we cry. Sometimes failure is the end of the story. Sometimes it is the beginning. This week of Lent we’ll see what narratives emerge and cast a new light on failure.
2 thoughts on “Lent XXII”
Broken glasses—every kid’s worst nightmare. In 4th grade I broke mine. That was back in the days of horn rims and real glass lenses. An earpiece broke off and one lens cracked in that spiderweb pattern that glass does. I reattached the earpiece with a piece of wire and popped the broken lens out and put it in the bottom of the trash can. I made it three days before my mom noticed that there wasn’t a reflection in one eyepiece. I was relieved and terrified at the same time when I was found out. The dreaded punishment did not come, so I had spent three days in needless terror. Unfortunately I’m still learning the lesson, because even now, the near-overwhelming temptation is to cover up my failures. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Thanks for this story, Wendell. Lots of cultural and personal shame is built into ‘failures’ of all kinds. We feel it from early in life. I think your “relieved and terrified at once” really captures the two-fold experience of failure in many instances. More thoughts coming on this soon…
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