25 Kislev 5778 / Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Torah Reading: Mikeitz
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Failing Forward    

Failing Forward

I failed at work. I failed at projects. People were disappointed in me instead of appreciative of me. I failed at effectively communicating with people who were important to me…


The story is also about failing… failing over and over and over again.


My life changed about 10 months ago on a random fall day. At least the day appeared to be random but you and I both know that Hashem has everything planned out for the very best – so in reality it was a very special fall day. On that day I came down with a cold - a seemingly insignificant, normal, run of the mill, standard cold. But, unknown to me at the time, that little tribulation was the beginning of a whole new life.


To understand my life today, I’ll need to fill you in on a little of my life before.


And my life before is what I’d call normal. Really quite normal. There were challenges – infertility, financial, and health – typical stuff. But the extraordinary thing about that part of my life, I’m learning now, is that I never really failed. Not really. People used to comment about it saying things like “You decide on something and just do it whether or not you have any experience! How do you do that?”  And I just didn’t see what they were seeing. I thought if they would just decide to do something then they could do it too. Probably needless to say but this was also long before learning about emuna.


Want a new job? I’d quit one and have another, in a new industry, sometimes even the same day.


Want a new place to live? First application accepted and moving within the week.


Good grades? No study required.


Report due for work? Slam it together the day before to great reviews and sometimes even a promotion.


I’m not saying this, Heaven forbid, to brag. I’m saying it because this was normal to me. Without the knowledge of emuna I just honestly figured I was “that good” and that anybody could have the same results if they would just try. It didn’t seem extraordinary to me at all.


And then, 10 months ago my life changed, subtly at first. A cold I just couldn’t kick. Then, quite rapidly it began to feel as if my life was falling apart. Challenge after challenge came my way in waves that threatened to drag me under. I’m so thankful I had learned about and had been living emuna for years by this time. I clung to that emuna for dear life! Emuna was my life preserver, my little oasis of calm in this storm that had become my life. Even so, the more I held on, the larger the waves appeared. I was lost at sea, my emuna life preserver and me, bobbing along with no view of my “normal” life in sight.


But the challenge to these tribulations was not really the events themselves… although there were some doozies, they really were still normal life challenges. Sure they were coming in rapid succession which was quite odd and disconcerting. But what was threatening to drown me, to separate me from my emuna, was the failing.


For the first time in my life I was failing and it was new and discouraging and downright scary.


I failed getting over that cold – “I” could typically whip a cold in 2-3 days. This cold lasted 3 months – nonstop.


I failed at work. I failed at projects. People were disappointed in me instead of appreciative of me. I failed at effectively communicating with people important to me. In just about every area of life I was failing, and failing hard, on a regular basis.


And then, just last week, a friend reached out and asked what had happened to me. Why was I not participating in events and why have I not been writing? I told her that I don’t recognize my life – that I’m failing constantly.


And with that statement *** DING DING **** The light finally went on and Hashem illuminated my mind.


Success or failure is up to Him and either way, with emuna, I win!


I win because I can learn and grow through every event regardless of the outcome.


I win because I can see Hashem working in my life and that encourages me to cling to Him.


I win because whatever the outcome of whatever I’m doing I know it is for a purpose.


Because of emuna I can fail forward… because even failures are for the very best!



* * *

Jennifer invites you to participate in a regularly held Noahide on-line study group that reviews the garden series books of Rabbi Arush. You can contact her at jenniferjwoodward@gmail.com to be added to the weekly newsletter for dates and times. Visit the blog at noahidenews.blogspot.com  

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