I know. We just had Scary Monday. But sometimes the days have lives of their own, and the best thing you can do is just go with it. And so my Misfit friends, I offer you the following tale:
This is a true story.
About EPIC Failure. As per the title above.
And though I can’t imagine why on God’s green earth you would want to…
DO NOT try this at home.
Ok, enough with the disclaimers. On to my sad tale.
It all started so… so hopefully. When you’re relatively new at your church (or wherever you like to hang out, sing songs and contemplate life with the 0 to 90 crowd) you look for ways to connect and meet and greet and serve and whatnot… so when an opportunity that encompasses all of the aforementioned comes along, what do you do? Why, you sieze upon it, that’s what. And I did. I siezed.
THE MISSION: A new family (even newer than us) needs some help with meals.
Well sure, I can do that. I know how to make a meal. And I’m all about wanting to extend hospitality and help people feel welcome and whatnot, so yeah. No brainer. Sign me up!
Such a simple task. What could possibly go wrong?
[Cue happy, all is well with the world background music]
Ah, the naivete.
I’ll start by saying this is not a story about food poisoning, as hilarious as that would be, but I do appreciate the twisted way your mind is working. No, no the meal itself was perfectly fine, if I do say so myself. I’ll spare you the culinary play by play, except to say it was all lovingly handcrafted and packaged in the time honored tradition of our forefathers, and placed in a STURDY shopping bag for transport.
[Cue slightly ominous foreshadowing music]
So I arrive at said destination, with the lovingly packaged, still very warm and steaming meal, in the STURDY shopping bag, right on time. All is well.
That’s when things started to get a little blurry. And slo-mow. And surreal. All I really remember was lifting the STURDY bag out of the car, and taking one step. Just. One. Step. And the next thing I know, there is a crime scene on the street. My beautiful meal, splayed out, lifeless. Dead, I tell you. All that was missing was yellow tape and a chalk outline. Red sauce ev-er-y-where. On the road. On me. All over the bag, and the other items. Come to think of it, everywhere except in the lovingly packaged container it had previously been contained in.
I tried to think on my feet. Scoop it up. But wait, with what? I had no paper towels. No napkins. No nothin. Just my bare hands. And my sheer determination to somehow still get whatever remains I could salvage back into what was now half a bag, and stagger to the house. Covered in sauce. And that’s what I did.
Mind you, I still didn’t know EXACTLY where this house was… and as it turned out, I had parked about 5 houses short of the actual delivery destination. So at least now I know they probably weren’t watching the whole show out their front window (just the rest of the neighborhood). So there’s that. But the real show came when I got to the front door.
I want you to picture this, and hold this picture very closely in your heart: A sweet young mom with her newborn baby, and two perfectly precious little, little girls, literally all dolled up in their pristine ballet tutus, ready to go out the door… opening the door to greet this well meaning but nonetheless dazed, sauce covered, profusely apologetic stranger, looking like an extra from the set of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and trying with whatever dignity she had left to carefully lay the shards of dinner at their feet.
Are you picturing it? Because I’m not quite sure I can really convey the comic horror of that moment in words alone. “Welcome, new family. Welcome. Glad I could represent.”
And then? ” And then what happened?”, you ask?
And then I slinked away. What else could I do? I know. Anticlimactic, right? My friend told me I should have just rang the bell and ran, and let them think animals had foraged it. Oh, how I wish I had thought of it. But as it is, I just went back to my car, thankful that at least I hadn’t tarnished the tutus with my saucy self, and that it was all over.
But that’s actually when the story started to really take a dramatic turn for me. The physical damage was done. Nothing to do but go home, clean up, and work on strategies to avoid this family at all costs at church henceforth and forevermore. But the voices. Oh, the voices. They were just starting to warm up. And they are not nice voices, in case you are wondering. They say such mean things. Mean things that sound true, by the way, so they’re hard to ignore. Cause the thing is, yeah, they know there’s no denying it – this WAS an EPIC fail. And the voices are smart, they are, because they specialize in turning an incident into an identity. “You always…” or “You never…”, take your pick… They are ruthless.
It’s hard to shut the voices up. Especially when you find yourself chiming in, and repeating them to yourself. “Yeah, I am this… and I’m not that… and all the things they say I am, and am not”- taking on that identity. Oh yeah, and hide away in shame. That’s part of the drill, too. And that’s what I started to do.
Until it occurred to me…
I may not be able to shut the voices up, but I can drown them out.
So I called my friend. And laughed about it. And told some more friends. And laughed about it. And even went on facebook live, and laughed. Ok, and cried a little, too. But the point is, I fought the voices with another Voice. The Voice that says, “It’s ok to laugh at yourself, show a little grace to yourself, and above all, not equate an incident with your identity.”
It’s amazing how that Voice redefines everything. Oh, I’ll still probably want to duck under a pew when I see this family.. but I think we’ll laugh about it one day if I ever work up the nerve to talk to them again. Because the thing is, it’s ok to show ourselves a little grace every now and then. After all, who are we to NOT show it when we’ve been shown so much?
So let’s laugh at our EPIC FAILS if we can, and drown out those voices, shall we?