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Turning Failure into Success

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

As the lights of Hannukah began to fade, soon to be replaced by the lights of Christmas, I began thinking of two things: the amazing qualities in colour and light, and how we can make our failures into successes. What a strange coupling. I suppose some of us have had one or the other or both, this last year. Failure takes on the hues of deep greys and the darkness of clouds, while success shines like shards of gold in the brightness of the sun. We can fail in so many things, but I feel the deepest of failures occurs when love itself finds no heart to rest in; when it is offered but feels the push of rejection. We avert our eyes and cast evil disdain upon those that fail and rejoice with those who succeed.

I remember when back in the 60's and 70's divorced couples were somewhat ostracised within the community and in the church; they had failed in their marriage. I remember also bankruptcy in business was also a stigma. During the years proceeding the crash of 2008, bankruptcy became common and people lost wealth overnight. The things they had worked hard for and the benefits of success slipped away, and homes repossessed.

During this time of the Covid-19 plague, we see similar things happening again. No one, it would seem, is immune from its effects, only this time the governments of the nations are forcing the doors to close on many businesses, when before, such events were personal.

As a young man, I remember reading a book by Spike Milligan. He recalled a moment whilst in his national service, when he was called to his Company Commander's office. He was on a serious charge of desertion. He explained that as far as he was concerned, he had not deserted. He argued; why, when one man turns and runs away from the charge, it's called 'desertion', but when a battalion of men do the same it's called a 'retreat.'

I can't remember whether the story actually happened or not, but the question has always stuck in my mind.

This to me is analagous. When a person falls into hard times and becomes bankrupt, he is often penalised for something which is generally out of his control. Imagine a small business that is owed money but can't get his debtors to pay. It's not his fault, yet his business can fail if his services aren't paid for. It creates a domino affect. On the other hand, when a nation begins to borrow and owes so much, to keep it functioning and the looming aspect of defaulting on its payments, it's all to do with the economy and inflation.

I find it strange also, how the trappings of success are measured and esteemed in our societies. What is even stranger is the lengths to which people will go to be accepted or considered among the successful. The affluent areas of my community are filled with large houses and expensive cars. I do wonder however, how much of all of it is actually owned and not based on debt.

Matthew 6:19-21

Treasures in Heaven19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."