What Do I Do When I Fail?
I am struck this week by the very visual nature of the first reading this coming Sunday. The writer says that the Lord took some of the Spirit that 'was on' Moses and shared it among the 70 elders that were gathered on the mountain. I imagine God scooping up some of the Spirit in his cupped hands and pouring it like water over the heads of the elders. Quite a picture the writer paints.
We talked a lot this week about how God is generous in giving us all gifts and talents. Some of us wonder what our talents are and how we are supposed to use them for the kingdom. If you don't know what gifts the Lord has given you, here's a clue...listen to what others say they see in you...often times people will recognize gifts and talents in us that we would never see in ourselves. Of course, then you need to trust that they are speaking in charity and helping you to truly discern.
We met with our families last weekend and we touched on this in a roundabout way. Parents have asked how they could speak with their children when they are effected by a lapse in judgement made by some pop star or sports icon that they hear about through social media. Our children hold entertainers like Demi Lovato, or sports figures (you can tell I'm not much into sports if I can't drop a name here...) in such high esteem. What do we tell them when these men and women suffer a very public fall from grace?
I believe we talk about forgiveness. We talk about prayer. We talk about our common humanity. All of us have made mistakes at one time or another. Luckily for most of us we don't live in the public eye and we don't have to deal with massive publicity when we make poor choices. I pity those folks who have to deal with that on a regular basis. It frightens me to think that in our world of constant social media, our children can be shamed by their peers via snapchat or Instagram if someone catches them in a less than perfect moment. Gosh, even having a zit can be traumatic if you're a 13 year old.
How do we protect our children from this nightmare? What do we as adults do to shore up our souls so we are not battered by the criticism of others? I go back to the previous paragraph, we learn to not only accept, but revel in our humanity, warts and all. If I believe that God made me good and that God loves me, then no one can harm me with their words. We need to teach our children this too, so that they know that for themselves, and they know how to be kind and accepting of others mistakes.
So when your daughter is so very sad because that awesome young singer has sadly had a relapse, maybe that's the time to stop and say: "let's say a prayer for her recovery. Let's ask God to give her the strength to try again. And let's talk about why this is a situation you don't want to find yourself in as you get older."
May God share a portion of the Spirit of wisdom on each of us, so we learn better how loved we are, and how to graciously live to share the gifts and talents we have been given.