For years I failed.
I tried to succeed in every way I thought possible. I thought up different ways to do things, and began each new attempt with a vulnerability that was easily beaten down by the harsh realities of this world. The enemy knew my weaknesses, and it used them against me time and time again. I was tossed repeatedly into the vortex of defeat.
When my own resources were eliminated, I turned to others for guidance. I read and studied and appealed to people and references that I thought would give me the knowledge that I needed to prevail. Every suggestion, lesson and helpful conversation was a new beginning, a new promise. I tried them all. Alas, my faith was dashed further as my ineptitude soured any and all good ideas.
Repeated failures chipped away at my confidence. My self-worth disappeared as I examined my steps again and again. What was I doing wrong? Everything, it seemed. I was missing a crucial piece of the puzzle, and it was hidden away. I was not meant to discover it.
On the surface, my deficiencies were revealed to others. I accepted them as part of my makeup, the very fiber of my being. It is difficult to look in the mirror when your faith has crumbled, and I’d be lying if I said that I found the strength to look at my own image each day. The depth of my failure and how it affected my war-torn soul were unknown to most people. Only close intimates knew my misery. Perhaps the brightest spots were those who accepted me even as they witnessed the agony of my collapse. They are the true heroes. Thank you, family and friends. You know who you are.
After a while, I stopped trying. My efforts had weakened me. The pain was too much, the disappointment too heavy. I acknowledged my future as a bleak one. Any shred of joy slipped from my grasp as I hung up my hopes and dreams, and I looked forward with a resignation that from now on others would have to pull me along in their wake.
Then one day, upon waking, my mind reached into a small crevice of consciousness that was once smoothed over like a newly cemented sidewalk. From that small crack came the hint of an idea. It was a new one that I hadn’t noticed yet. Could this mark a turning point for me? Is this my last revelation? I was afraid to believe, but the small and steady light held me in its warm radiance.
I swung my feet around the bed and onto the floor. The excitement of the possibility of success filled my spirit once again. Light-headed and high on hope, I drew my full strength up from the soles of my feet and the bottom of my heart, holding the glow of that idea in my minds’ eye as I went about the mundane tasks of the day.
When the time was right I put the plan in motion. I knew not where my courage came from - I can only guess that it was an otherworldly source. When I finished carrying out the plan, I tasted its brilliance. My success was unfettered. My desolation immediately filled with unbounded delight and absolute triumph. At once, my failures were erased, wisping away like a dream. My self was restored to its intended position. How comprehensive was my absolution! It washed over me like a cleansing rain.
My success must be shared; it is the only way to honor its power, no matter the wretchedness of its origin.
I’ve seen the Promised Land, and it has a name.
Crisco Baking Sticks, Butter flavored. Never again will I attempt to bake without them. My self-worth is found within their foil-wrapped majesty.
That’s right. Today I experienced chocolate chip cookie baking success for the first time. I never tasted manna from heaven. Likely you haven’t either, so let’s just say that these cookies are darn close.
Watch out, Martha Stewart.
Disclosure: Crisco did not compensate me for this article, though I wish they would, and soon.
All opinions, tragic failures, and mighty, mighty successes are my own.