Why do we fail?
A person once told me that they had failed enough in their life. Now, they were done with that. Failure would never be let in their house again.
Shock nearly appeared on my face. Internally, my brain began to scream contradictions while I pulled my face back to neutral. Out of this internal screaming, was born this answer to the question, “Why must we fail.”
As a great man, St. Augustine once said, “To err (to make mistakes), is to exist”.
In other words, to be human, you must fail. This is the thesis that St. Augustine presented, and the thesis I will present.
Can we avoid failing?
Is it possible to avoid failure is our first question in a sense presented by my friend. I will say, it is impossible. The brokenness of this world leads us to fail.
We fail to live up to expectations, others and our own. Businesses rise and fall. Marriages break apart on the rocks of life while people fail to survive the storms of life and shatter into pieces never to reform.
Finally and eventually we all fail. We fail to achieve things that humanity as a whole has pursued with a vehement passion, immortality.
Despite this, I do not encourage you to bask in failure even if it is unavoidable. I have gone down the road of self-flagellation, beating myself over the head time and again over my failure. What encouraged me?
A sick sense of self-inflicting, self-righteous shame.
Perhaps I have not faced the worst kind of failure. One memory stands out in my long list of the mistakes that have come my way. I was hoping to get a job and didn’t. It hurt.
Watching all your dreams slip away as the hope dies is horrible. Having to see other people and congratulate them on it kills you a bit. When you have to see them every day, the pain gets worse.
Explaining to people is also another form of punishment. Each person who knows, each sad look, each pat on the back. Nail after nail, driven into your heart.
Your self-hatred thrives in this situation, so beware or this lion might consume you. I know Mistress Failure quite intimately, and she consumed me before.
Two weeks of my life I spent in the depth of frustration. Hounding myself for not trying harder before. Torturing myself for letting flaws remain inside my soul.
Eventually, I reborn out of those desperate waters, and in the process, I learned about myself. What followed was one of my most productive times in life where I changed radically.
What happens next?
I seriously began to work at some of my fundamental flaws like my periodic moody cycles. Furthermore, this situation led me down the path that ended with me being here in Budapest and becoming a better writer.
Like a phoenix, I, rather we, burn in our failures. If we refuse to die, we will come back reborn, “born again to a living hope.”
Out of this, we reach the statement that I will layout in the rest of this article. “Out of failure comes beauty.”
The inspiration for this outlook is my friend Colin. When I told him about this project I was working on, he asked this question about my friend who refuses to fail. “Where do they find beauty in their life?”
Beauty in Failure
The brokenness of the world leads to failure that is reclaimed from brokenness to beauty. Even so, my experience does not reach the ultimate failure turned to splendor. Hence, I will introduce you to the greatest failure turned to success.
Now, for a moment, my non-Christian friends, I ask you to hear me preach a bit. And my Christian friends, hold back as I describe Jesus in the most humanly way ever… as the ultimate failure.
For in a sense, going to the cross is the ultimate transcendent naivety… choosing doom.
From a human perspective, Jesus Christ failed. Christ did not follow in his father’s footsteps as a carpenter. Many of his followers could not take his message and left him.
He was the adoration of the crowds, but when the suffering came, they were there… to spit on him.
He came to spread Faith, but the religious leaders rejected him. At the very end, his followers fled in utter terror of facing the same fate as he did. He begged his Father to spare, him, yet the only way forward was the joining of all misery.
Finally, Jesus was ended, crucified on a cross, one of the most horrible ways to die. The symbol of the ultimate societal failure. Criminal. Outcast. Pariah.
Yet, have you ever been inside a Church? The center is a symbol of suffering, the cross. It is an empty cross though.
The ultimate victory embedded within the failure.
For the other side of it is, the deeper the despair, the greater the victory. The descent into the abyss, before the ascent to heaven. The ultimate archetype.
For what followed his death was his resurrection, from death to life. The most amazing success in history; yet that was preceded by the greatest failure in history.
So now I ask you, are you willing to fail? Are you willing to learn from your failure? I have bared my soul to you on this issue, but now it is time for you to take your initiative and change the way that you look at failure.