A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm a Copycat!

Found this on a friend's blog. Thought it was good. Hope you enjoy it!

I could NOT resist posting this article! It is funny, well-written, and helpful to those of us who are embarrassed from time to time. (Anyone NOT fit this category?) It's written by Jenny Schroedel. Enjoy!

My church was seeking a head priest, or a rector. I saw a priest praying, and assumed he was a candidate for the position. Not being the shy sort, I didn’t hesitate to ask him. “Excuse me — are you applying to be the rectum of our church?”

He looked up at me, and for a few dreadful moments I had no idea what I had said wrong. But the blank look on his face spoke volumes, and finally the awful realization sunk in. What do you do at a time like that? Sheepishly, I turned around and left, before any more damage could be done.

It happens to all of us, of course. Sometimes you trip over your tongue and fall flat on your face. The worst moment comes just after your fumble, as you realize your gross, grammatical gaffe — the social typo that you can never, ever erase.

First, the blunder makes you want to crawl into a hole. But even if you do find a hole large enough for you and your bruised ego, your blunder follows you there — taking up permanent residence in your brain. (At least it feels like it’ll be permanent.) It rears its ugly head just when you are most vulnerable: As you drift off to sleep or when you’re waiting on your date’s doorstep.

I have a collection of “embarrassing moment” mental videos shelved in my brain. Tucked between a few unmentionables is this clip: One time I entered a bakery and exclaimed, “Look at those great buns!” only to realize that a man with his back to me leaning against the pastry case thought I was talking about him.

But some of my embarrassing moments aren’t funny at all. They make me cringe because they involve somebody other than me: somebody whose feelings got hurt by my tactless words, or somebody I ran over with my Great Big Opinions. Other moments are painful because they point to academic and professional failures.

Getting a Grip
When these moments spring to mind, I have two options. I can draw the shades, crawl into bed, and ruminate on into eternity. I can make unfavorable comparisons between myself and Job. I can echo Anne of Green Gables, lamenting, “My life is just a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

Or I can get a grip.

The key to grip-grasping is admitting you blew it. After you own up, you apologize. Then the hardest part comes: You move on. Alcoholics Anonymous has it down pat: “You name it, you claim it, and then you dump it.”

The redeeming value of these experiences is that they birth humility. Humility allows us to recognize our weaknesses (and flakiness) without despair. Humility sees life — and our fledgling attempts to live it — with unblinking realism, and yet it allows us to glimpse the comedy in our foibles. Pride scolds and ruminates, but humility laughs.

Most importantly, humility frees us from the need to rationalize, helping us to see the truth and yet be gentle with ourselves. Humility corrects our vision — pointing toward God’s infinite forgiveness and inspiring us to respond to ourselves in kind.

Failure in the Real World
When I was in college, my less-glowing moments seemed to suggest future failures. I thought, If I can’t do things perfectly now, how will I make it in the real world? When I interned at a newspaper, each of my typos caused an earthquake in my heart. One of the editors said something I will never forget: “Aim for perfection, but don’t expect it.”

Our blunders can be an asset in the real world, if we are able to own up to them and learn from them. A friend of mine who does a good deal of hiring and firing for a corporation tells me that one of the first questions she asks a prospective employee is “How do you deal with failure?”

According to my friend, even people in business blow it. If a person tells her that they have never failed, she assumes one of three things: They don’t take risks, they can’t face failure, or they don’t work well with other people. My friend says that major American corporations seek employees who are real about their limitations and willing to work through them.

Laughter and Prayer

If our fumbling moments aren’t edifying, at least they can be entertaining. Sometimes, my blunders are so funny that I laugh out loud all by myself! The other day, I cracked open a fortune cookie and found the quote I’d been scouring quotation anthologies for: “The person who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” But we’re not the only funny ones! God’s creation reflects his humor and playfulness — have you ever seen a platypus? Reinhold Niebuhr wrote: “Humor is the prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer.” When we see God’s delighted fingerprints all over world, our hearts open to him in a fresh way. We are part of his wild and quirky creation. We surrender to this reality when we laugh at ourselves.

In The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis described Narnia’s first joke. Aslan told the new creatures to never become beasts. They said they wouldn’t in unison, except for one Jackdaw who boldly cried out, “No fear!” Because everyone else had already stopped speaking, the Jackdaw’s words rang out loudly, and he hid his head under his wing in embarrassment.

When the animals began to laugh, the Jackdaw realized he’d done something funny. “ ‘Aslan! Aslan! Have I made the first joke? Will everybody always be told that I made the first joke?

’‘No, little friend,’ said the Lion. ‘You have not made the first joke; you have only been the first joke.’ ”
Every now and then each of us gets to be the joke. But when we stumble, we won’t fall so hard of we take ourselves lightly. Humility helps us to recover our balance — to see how small we are and how healing laughter can be.

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