Many years ago I attended a Halloween party on October 31st. (If you are offended that my generation held harmless celebrations on that day, please forgive me. I promise that my parents did not let us do anything that was “bad.”) Anyway, we were young, wearing costumes and having a great time.
The woman hosting the party was concerned that there would be too much “gathering together.” Get your mind out of the gutter – we weren’t that old!! No, it was cold and flu season and she was concerned that someone with a bug would pass it to others. So, she took precautions that none of us knew about.
The first event on the party schedule was “bobbing for apples.” I was really good at this game and excited about getting to go first with two other friends. We knelt next to the big, galvenized tub, put our hands behind our backs and waited for the word “go.”
Apparently, our taste buds were working better than our sense of smell, because just as quickly as we dunked our heads into the water, we came out, heads thrashing back and forth splashing everyone around us. For what should have been a casual head dunking in cold water was a bath in “bleachy” water, heavy on the bleach.
We spit and spit and spit!
We rolled our eyes and made gagging noises!
We yelled out that this was the “WORST THING THAT HAD EVER HAPPENED TO US IN OUR LIVES!!”
In her effort to keep us all safe from a few germs, the woman had ended the party. Even though she assured us that nothing else contained anything harmful, but we didn’t believe her. To us the popcorn balls looked suspicious and we sniffed the apple cider. Even the chocolate candy was turned down. Group think was: If this crazy woman expected us to bite into apples in bleachy water, who knew what else she had planned!!
Have you been there? You planned something big; you did what you thought was right; and, you made a huge mistake? I have. I once prepared a meal for a dinner party that was so bad that we ordered out for pizza. And years and years ago (before cooking shows), I “created” a vegetable soup recipe that was based on a unique broth – WATER! It’s true; I have crashed and burned – big and publically!! (I can see my family and friends nodding their heads and saying, “Yep, and we have watched her do it.”)
Oh no! The worst season for public embarrassment is just around the corner – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. So many opportunities for mistakes. You know what I mean:
- Turkey that is “pink” in the middle.
- Her reaction when the little box under the tree contains post-it-notes and not pearls.
- Wearing “casual” to the holiday party when everyone else is in “formal.”
- Remembering that you had forgotten to go to the friend’s kid’s school band concert just as you share with them how great the game on TV was.
- Giving a friend a $5 gift as they present you a $50 gift.
Between us, let’s agree this holiday season that we will all make mistakes. As we intentionally “gather together,” let’s give ourselves and each other a break by being kinder than we have ever been before!
Today, call, email, text or send a note to that person who laughed or cried with you during a “major fail” experience in your life and tell them “thanks.” They may need your word of encouragement.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)
Well – not sure if it was a major “failure” but I did learn a big lesson one day when I did something very selfish – even though I was clueless at the time. This lesson has stuck with me for 32 years. I was a new intern. I had gone to a required intern conference at a camp like setting in Maryland. My room-mate was another intern assigned to anther office near me. As an only child and as a single person, I was accustomed to doing pretty much what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it, That included not only showering in our shared bath but doing all the rest of my prep – hair, make-up etc. All this while my room-mate waited for her turn. She very kindly pointed out that growing up with many siblings she learned that only things requiring water got done in the bathroom – that all else was brought back into another room to complete. I was so ashamed of my selfish hogging of the bathroom and my insensitivity about sharing common space. I think of that often – have never forgotten my failure to be thoughtful of other’s needs.
Mary-Blair Valentine, DPA
One of the blessings from God is often what stays in our minds never enters the minds of those around us.
Your words always inspire me. Enjoy this wonderful Sunday and know that you are loved!!
Jill (just one of God’s kids)