Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grace Is All I’m Askin’

--Dave Matthews Band, ‘Alligator Pie’

Another quote:

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men, Gang aft agley,"

or, as often translated:

“The best laid plans of mice and men, Go often awry.”

—Robert Burns

‘To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with the Plough’

Yep. I forgot to blog yesterday. Completely spaced it. 69 out of 90 consecutive days and I blew it. So I’ll be blogging twice today. It would be too tempting to say, “Oops. Oh well. Guess I don’t have to finish, now.” But if there’s anything I’ve learned working a recovery program it’s that it’s not enough to admit your mistake. If it’s at all possible, if you can do so without harming anyone else, you have to make restitution. So you tell me: is my blogging twice in one day causing harm to all of you sane folks? :)

Another thing I’ve learned, and this is arguably the most critical lesson I have ever needed to grasp, is that perfection is neither possible, nor desirable as an end unto itself. An ‘all or nothing’ person from the get-go, I have a long history of trying something, failing, and then quickly turning around and pretending nothing happened. (“Say nothing, act natural!” –Igor, Young Frankenstein). Wrapped up in my own certainty that admitting failure would negate my value as a human being, I leaned into my obvious successes and actually convinced myself in my early adulthood that I had never failed at anything I had tried.

Robert Burns points out in his poem that while the mouse can live in the present moment, humans are dogged by their sorrowful history and their fear of the future, over which they have no control. I am trying, imperfectly but honestly, to focus on the now and find stability and peace in whatever good I can do for others, trusting that even if my life gets inadvertently ploughed under, I don’t have to throw in the towel.

So today, I’m hanging onto the towel, picking myself up, dusting myself off and moving forward. No excuses. No justifications. Just restitution. “Grace is all I’m askin.’ ”

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