This Week’s Message from Pastor Bob
Dear people of God:
Recently I was talking with one of you, and you said something I found very interesting. I added, “I think that should be the subject of my Pastor’s Message this week!” This morning I was running over the day’s expectations in my head, and started asking myself, “What was that I was going to write about?” I could not remember. I still cannot remember.
So I’m going to write about failure. Decades ago I had a fun practice: I took a book bag to church and would give it to one of the children. That child was to bring it back the next Sunday with something in it, and I would give a Children’s Message on the spur of the moment, based on whatever the child brought. The time a girl brought a Transformer toy was the easiest. Anyway, I was always ready – and finally I had to use – a message about failure, in case I couldn’t think of anything.
I hope that you’re not living up to your expectations. And I hope that you’re forgiving yourself for that. I always want better of myself: to run farther, or to read more, or to listen better. The day that I’m content and think there’s nothing about me to improve is the day they put my ashes in the ground, I hope. At the same time, it is essential to learn to forgive oneself, to face one’s failures honestly and move on, possibly to try again to do better. That’s one of the keystone reasons we confess our sins in church: to face our failures honestly, and to move on, with the intention of doing better.
Early in this emergency, I wrote about projects. I had a list of projects to do with the extra time I have, since we don’t go out to eat, don’t get together with friends, don’t go to the theater. I got through that list, and created another list. I haven’t done squat about the second list; in fact, the last couple of days I’ve spent a lot of my free time playing computer games. I forgive myself.
You don’t need to be a stay-at-home-family hero, a Facebook Influencer in the kitchen, a champion at making sculpture from found objects. If you forget to put pants on until mid-afternoon, or haven’t done yesterday’s dishes, or are sick to death of listening to your child or spouse slurp soup and are doing all you can not to scream, you’re okay. Forgive yourself.
Maybe, if you keep playing, you can make it to the next level. Oh, and maybe I’ll remember what one of you said to me so I can write about it next week. Or you’ll read this and remind me of it. I’ll try to do better next time.
During the COVID-19 restrictions, I am posting special messages from time to time. This one is from May 6, 2020.