At the start of each new year, a close friend of mine picks one word that will be her mantra, one word that will sum up her aspiration and quell her anxiety. This year, it’s sabbath.
I don’t mean to be irreverent but it just happens that way. So when she asked me what my word for the year was, I took a few days to think about it before coming back to her and asking, “Can I have two?” I chose epic fail.
And then I asked her if she had a laptop so I could show a video clip that summed up my point:
To be honest, I don’t think about failing all that often. Not because I don’t do it but because dwelling negatively on the past only brings me regret and a nervous tummy. But when I saw this cat, this cat who tried to jump to the next big thing it could set its eyes on, I realized this would be my mascot for the year. This would be the year of epic failure.
It’s a wonder I buffer myself from the skinned knees of failure. I couldn’t even tell you how I have “epically failed” in the past year. I’m reminded of a piece of art in my brother’s house that says, “To hit it big, you have to risk it all.” I prefer sure bets.
But for the past few months I’ve started to try my hand at bigger pots and already failed a few times. I applied for a freelance job as a magazine editor and got to the second round of interviews before getting the heave-ho (It might have had something to do with the fact that I missed the deadline after bragging about how I was so good with them.) I got booked as the main speaker at a youth ministry event that was later cancelled due to low registration. And with every intention of going out to lunch with folks after church, I’ve chickened out twice now to return home and eat turkey roll-ups and apple slices.
It’s important that you know this. And it’s important that you know when I get ready to take another leap, wiggling my tail like a cat in anticipation. One project already in the works that I’m proud to announce is an anthology I’m co-editing with Enuma Okoro called Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank about Faith (White Cloud Press, Oct 2013). My first book. An epic risk.
I’m over at that same friend’s house a few weeks ago, the one who likes her words-of-the-year, and we’re preparing dinner when I offer her a glass of wine. She declines, and I wonder, but I’m trying to be polite. Later she shares, “I don’t know why everyone’s so secretive about it, but we want you to know that we’re trying to get pregnant.”
The thing is, she and her husband could fail, and we’d all know it. Maybe we wouldn’t be able to hide the sympathy in our eyes or maybe we’d say something glib in our awkwardness. But maybe they won’t fail.
Maybe I won’t either.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:11