Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ever Felt Like a Failure?

Let's just be honest with ourselves. No one is successful in every pursuit they make. In those times that our best efforts don't lead to the outcome we had hoped to obtain, we can feel as though we were not good enough. There may have been contributing factors to our failure such as lack of manpower or inadequate materials. Truthfully, sometimes failure comes because we had the right idea at the wrong time. Despite all of the explanations in the world, it becomes very easy to allow the blame for the project's failure to land squarely on our shoulders. That's never a good feeling.

Dealing with past failures can continue for many years as well. Sometimes a new failure brings to mind the pain of a past shortfall. A wayward comment can cause us to remember the frustration of a day gone by. Currently, social media is a major player in my personal feelings of past failings. I see repeated posts and photos about projects I was involved with in a previous life. I recall the frustration and pain of trying to do the important work when no one was willing to help. Now I see a team that is excited and working together. I watch the very ones who repeatedly met my pleas for help with resounding "no's" now jumping into the middle of the work. Quite simply, it's hard to watch because it makes me wonder what is wrong with me. Why were people so unwilling to help? Did I not deserve their help? Was I too demanding as a leader? Was I a weak leader they could not follow? Did they just not care? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Don't get me wrong. In the big scheme of things, I'm very happy to see that such important work has finally gotten the attention it deserves. I'm glad to see that things are flourishing. I just find myself feeling more and more like a failure. It makes me wonder if I was just "getting in the way" of real success for far too long. I wonder if these people ever stop to think how their posts might impact me......or if they even care.

Do I really believe that season of my life was a complete waste? Not entirely. I think I got caught in a terribly difficult time that caused lots of people to say "no." My superiors were either not aware of the issues or simply chose to turn a blind eye -- I don't guess I'll ever really know the answer to that one -- and I found myself doing the best I could in a crappy situation. I found myself fighting battles that couldn't be won because of destructive forces at work that attempted to wreak havoc on me personally, professionally, ministerally and spiritually. I was forced to push my hurt down so no one else would be offended -- never mind the fact that I had been terribly offended. Thankfully, I'm in a much better situation now in every area of my life than I was in those days, but the reality of those past failures still stings. Unfortunately, the trauma of that season of my life has resulted in my choice to no longer be actively involved in a similar leadership position. I just can't take the hatefulness that results in such positions any more. Now I just wonder if the hurt will ever completely heal. Things are better than they were.....but the ache and hurt is still very real.

This is definitely not what I expected to come from my keyboard when I sat down to write, but here it is. I feel certain that my future posts will not be quite as gloomy. But it's just another example of what is going on in my mind while I'm here just Livin' Life.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hits and Misses (October 18-24)

Life in Texas is good, but you wouldn't know anything about that based on my lack of blogging recently! I'm discovering what it really means to work all day and come home with nothing on my mind except resting. Despite the tiredness, I am hoping to return to a somewhat regular blogging routine. What better place to begin than with a look back at the week that was......


  • On Sunday, I returned from a brief trip to Malibu. It was wonderful to see friends and get to spend time with some of the newest members of Psi Upsilon. Additionally, this was Waves Weekend at Pepperdine, so I got the chance to see some friends that I haven't seen in nearly 20 years. (Of course, none of us are getting any older.)
  • While I was in Malibu, I joined members of the fraternity to participate in an Out of Darkness walk. This fundraising activity was intended to bring attention to the issues of mental illness and suicide in our nation -- and particularly among college students. The Pepperdine community was walking in memory of Brennan Tatem, a young member of Psi Upsilon who took his life nearly a year ago while fighting his own demons of depression and hopelessness. While the event was somber, it was a rewarding and moving experience. I took great pride in watching these young men express their emotions openly as they decided to no longer sit in silence with their grief; instead, they decided to make an impact on society.
  • On Wednesday, I had the good fortune of hearing Former First Lady Laura Bush speak in Wayland's weekly chapel service. Her remarks were full of humor and insights into the Bush presidency. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to provide background music in the hour preceding the speech as Mrs. Bush greeted those who had generously donated to the WBU scholarship fund. It was a lot of work that I didn't have as much time to prepare for as I would have like, but -- hey! -- it will always look good on my resume.
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed rewatching The West Wing. Somehow I had forgotten what a great series it was. I'm currently in the sixth season of the show that I began watching from the beginning in August. Great story line, amazing ensemble cast, and fantastic writing. That's the formula for an outstanding drama series. As I'm approaching the end of the series, I am beginning to think about what series I'll watch next. Any suggestions?


    • There's nothing quite like jetlag. It took me a couple of days to fully recover from the west coast trip. That meant that I also slept through my alarm a few times. Thankfully I was never late for an appointment or class, but there were some close calls.
    • I hate not having time to read. I've paid late fees for library books several times while in Plainview and have only finished one of the novels I've checked out. That's horrible news to me. Especially since I value literacy so much.
    • I have never liked having my photograph taken. I never feel that I am terribly photogenic. This week, I had to take a picture for the church directory at College Heights. Even though I despise these sittings, I was lucky enough to end up with a decent shot....and actually bought one of the digital files that might be appropriate for professional headshots. It's nice when something I hate doing produces a surprising result.
    That's all there is for this week. If all goes well, I'll return with another story on Wednesday. If you are reading (especially those of you from my life before Plainview), your comments are encouragement to me to continue writing and remind me that someone out there is actually reading of my adventures.