Graceful Mistakes

“Let us always long to hear the stories of grace in others’ lives. Every conversion is the story of a blessed defeat.” C.S. Lewis

Years ago, I was in a very important meeting. The executive director was there with several key people. There were six of us sitting around a table. I had just poured myself a nice big cup of coffee with cream. You can guess the rest. Yep, I spilled that coffee all over the table.

I was mortified of course but it was over quickly. We all grabbed napkins and they helped me clean it up. I apologized; I was embarassed, but it only lasted a few minutes. I remember thinking to myself, “I am not perfect. Oh well. Get over it.” 🙂

Another time, I ticked someone off real good. I said something (in response to an incident) that started a mini landslide. It was actually pretty stressful. I apologized. She did not. I think she engaged in some behaviors unbecoming, but are someone else’s bad manners my problem? NO. I can’t help how others think or behave.

In this world today, there is no way to live without eventually rubbing someone the wrong way or making a mistake. I am only human, I am imperfect, and so I cannot say and do absolutely the “right thing” each and every time. There is a balance I try and achieve and grace has a whole lot to do with it.

If I believe that I am here on this earth for a purpose, then everything that I do (and everything that happens to me) is a learning experience. I may fall down over and over again, but if I get back up, dust myself off, and keep going, I am a survivor. God’s love teaches me that no matter what, I am important and my contributions to those around me, are valued. I must believe that just about everything I do, is a reflection of God’s plan for me.

And though no one is fond of apologies I don’t mind apologizing, especially if I did something I I truly deserve to say I’m Sorry for. When you know you are truly loved by God, you believe yourself worthy and that makes mistakes ok. Giving heartfelt apologies is a gift, a sign of character. I honestly believe most of world’s psychiatric problems would go away, if we all would admit once in a while that we are not perfect.

How spectacular it is that every day unfolds before us, a clean slate, a white page that we can color and paint and sculpt any way we want. The best thing I can do for myself is go forward, trusting that I’ll do the best I can to make good choices and affect others in a positive way. That’s how grace works. It gives me the confidence to make decisions I can live with.

One of those paint classes. I did it my way!

One of those fancy paint classes. I did it my way!

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20 thoughts on “Graceful Mistakes

    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Well, I realized at that workshop that I am very much an individualist. They gave you direction but I didn’t want my picture to look like everyone else’s. It was a surprise to me because I’m not usually a rule breaker. 🙂

      Reply
  1. Cathy McElhaney

    Another great blog post. I have such a hard time ‘accepting’ my mistakes. It’s not that I don’t think I make them, I actually think I make more than ‘normal’. It’s my perfectionism that causes me to be so hard on myself! I accept others imperfections…and even embrace them, it’s my own I have a problem with. I am doing better…progress not perfection is my new motto! Mistakes are learning experiences.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      I have this same issue. I accept other’s imperfections but tend to be hard on myself. Apologizing if I think I am wrong, helps me to clean my slate. I try not to over do that though or I end up apologizing too much (LOL!).
      I love “Progress not Perfection”. Beautiful!
      xo

      Reply
  2. Marianne

    In the past year or so, I’ve come to understand (with a lot of hints from God) how much he “radiantly loves” me (His words, not mine), and I feel like if God radiantly loves me, who am I to stand in His way. So it’s helped me to feel the same way you have expressed here. I make a mistake, I say “Ok, I made a mistake,it’s over, I forgive myself and God still loves me – radiantly!” That’s an awesome understanding because it gives us the opportunity to be more peaceful with ourselves and our relationship with Him, while we become more aware of what we say and do or are about to say and do.

    Your posts always inspire, Joanne. And your painting is so you…bold, bright and beautiful! 🙂

    Hugs,
    Marianne xox

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Marianne,
      I love that word- radiantly- it is so GOD, so perfect. I read a post once where the writer said God was “smitten” with her, so I think I’ll combine both and say “God is radiantly smitten with me”. 🙂
      You are right- we should not stand in God’s way. It gives us more peace if we accept what comes our way.
      Thank you xo Joanne

      Reply
  3. Cindy

    HI Joanne, I love this title… “Graceful Mistakes.” I think your words are very powerful. Growing up, I was always taught (by my mother’s example) that being able to say you are “sorry” is one of the best qualities a person can have. I too have the same issue of accepting other people’s imperfections, but then turning around & being hard on myself. Maybe that is why it is easy for me to say…..” Iam sorry”! ” I think that goes along with being a forgiving person, also. Good for you that you apologized to your friend & showed character. I read somewhere that a person who can humbly apologize and say “Iam sorry” is person who takes full responsibility for their mind, body and spirit. None of us are perfect and maybe “Iam not all wrong and you’are’re all right”, or vice versa. Makes me sad to think how many people don’t apologize back even as an act of appreciation and kindness. Joanne, you certainly do affect others in a positive way!!! What a positive share this is and thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      I appreciate your thoughts and I agree. Apologizing is taking responsibility for mind, body and spirit. I think it does take a certain level of spirituality and maturity to be able to do this.
      I know it was very hard for me to apologize in my younger years. I wish I had done it more often. But it is never too late. And by showining humility, I hope to teach my children and grandchildren that it is ok to make mistakes.
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  4. Marylin Warner

    I loved this post, Joanne, AND your gorgeous art! YES! Wonderful and vivid colors that make me wish we were taking an art class together and then going out for lunch!

    Apologies are often easier to offer than to accept. All we can do is what we need to say and do, and then let it go. “Graceful Mistakes” is a lovely, powerful and inspiring title!

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      That would be so fun- taking a class and going to lunch! I love the idea! If I ever get to your neck of the woods, we’re going. 🙂
      Have a wonderful weekend Marylin.
      xo Joanne

      Reply

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