Do You Recognize Me?

J. Keith Hughey


Volume XXII, Number 3 (Issue 1059) January 15, 2024

Do You Recognize Me?

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”

If you need a hint regarding where you might have seen this quote, you need look no further than last week’s “Thought for the Week.”

The quote comes from English author Neil Gaiman. I chose it for last week’s Musing knowing it was at best an indirect reference to the theme of more, not realizing at the time there was something strangely familiar to me about Gaiman’s message. Then, a reader’s comment about the quote called to mind a similar text I have been reading on a daily basis for nearly thirty years. That text, which is shown below, comes from the Book of Common Prayer.

“We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.”

I like the pairing of those two opposing thoughts, satisfaction – even joy – from making the best possible use of the gifts we’ve been given, contrasted with the frustrations we sometimes experience when things don’t go as planned. To then realize that regardless of the outcome there are valuable lessons to be had in both our successes and failures makes it that much better. Provided, that is, we take time to reflect on what happened, why, and our part in the outcome – good or bad.

Like you, I have learned from my own collection of triumphs and tragedies that a range of outcomes exist. That possibility extends to those times when I choose not to act since no decision is also a decision. Either way, it can be exhilarating in the moment. It can also be petrifying depending upon the circumstances. Yet if I do fail, I can choose to try again now armed with a bit more knowledge and insight. I might even find it helpful to try something a bit different assuming I am not pleased with the initial result.

The saying that comes to mind, often falsely attributed to Albert Einstein, is that the working definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. Another thought I have goes to my response when I get caught in a traffic jam. Depending upon the nav system I am using at the time, I may get a suggestion for an alternative route. Other times I am told how long the delay might be though I have become increasingly suspicious of those estimates. Accordingly, I sometimes choose door “C.” That is, I take the first exit in search of a less congested route. Not knowing for certain how long I might have been stuck in that stalled and snarled traffic had I stayed the course, I further choose to take solace, even some pleasure and satisfaction in knowing I am moving. As I see it, where there is movement, there is progress. On top of that, there is the up side that comes with getting to choose and taking control.

Can you relate?

Soli Deo Gloria

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

J. Keith Hughey

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Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance

Copyright 2024 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Recent issues of Musings may be found at Your comments are always welcome.

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