Tuesday, July 8, 2014

gracious incompetency

I got embarrassed today.  I explained something, to an uncomfortably large group of people, and said something not entirely appropriate.

Later, someone said something.

They brought it up.  In front of everyone.

I sat there, quietly.  But my mind raced a thousand miles every second.

I didn't have all the right language.

But when someone said something about it, I got angry.

I wanted to say, "the way to educate is not to shame... someone..."

I live with this little brown eyed boy with coarse curls and full lips and daily I wonder how I will teach him how to handle other people who don't understand.

And there are a lot of people who don't understand, but I do not ever want to be one of them.

I didn't have the grace or the humility to apologize to the woman who shamed me today.  But I reached out to my friend, whom I knew would understand.  A woman who's dedicated her life to education on this particular topic, and I apologized to her.  Mostly because an apology to my classmate wouldn't have been genuine.  But my apology to my friend was.

And I didn't like how embarrassed I felt to be wrong.

I'm wrong a lot.  And in a lot of public ways.

But in this moment, I thought about all the times I have reacted with less than patience about someone else's particular ignorance.  Using inappropriate language, or believing generalizations and stereotypes.  I think about the times I have failed myself, when I have been less than I'm capable of being.

We have to learn to be gracious with our incompetencies.

Not dismissive.  Not permissive.

But gracious.

In those ways we fail, out of exhaustion and ignorance or miseducation, we must be able to find the grace.  For each other, but also for ourselves.

In those moments when I recognize all my stagnancy, all the ways I've strayed from my dreams; the windy path we've followed, which has led us here.  Failure like windows thrown open, light and temperature and moisture, waking us up.

We can be wrong and still shrouded in the grace.  We can stand still, knee deep in all the mud, and it's grace reaching for us.

Grace allows us to be wrong and learn from it.  To learn and grow and fight the complacency we often find ourselves in.  Because we are supposed to get better.

We are not supposed to stay this way.