Failure: God’s Ways Not Our Ways

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on June 12, 2019

in Blogs

Last week I was in a piano recital of classical music at the Village where I live. Not having played seriously for years, I practiced furiously for weeks, recapturing skills I had in the eighth grade. Only two of us Villagers volunteered to play for the two-hour event, so in the end “outsiders” were invited—accomplished musicians like a high school band director and a woman from the Cleveland Institute of Music. A few days before the “concert” the piano was ready to be played for the first time. However, its keys were tough to press. A Sister passing by told me to pretend to be angry so that I would pound on the keys.

The evening before the recital, I practiced my five pieces on that piano, including Mozart’s “Rondo” and Beethoven’s “Moonlight Serenade.” As a supportive listener can vouch, I did very well. The next day 150 people gathered for the program. The visiting musicians performed for an hour and a half, some of them playing popular songs. Then I was called up. I began by admitting that I was not a music director but would give it my best shot. Then I proceeded to ruin every piece, even the easier ones. In between I made comments like, “Am I making you nervous?” Ironically, afterwards people said they liked my humor, personality, and courage. One musician said, “Nice try!” Another woman said, “You were hilarious.” I also received hugs. So although I didn’t succeed as a pianist, I was a good entertainer!  I went to bed happy and very relieved.

Now an odd (providential) thing happened that day. In the morning, I read the day’s reflection in my book Heart to Heart with Mary. That night I had to read it again. Mary’s words couldn’t have been more appropriate. They might mean something for you this week:

Dealing with Failure

June 2

My child, you’ve learned by now that you do not always achieve success, not even when you try with all of your might. You aim for something but stumble along the way to it, and it eludes you. Perhaps other people block you from reaching your goal or circumstances defeat you. Of course, you are disappointed, but do not be so disheartened by these failures that you lose confidence in yourself and become reluctant to try for anything major again. Rely on me to spur you on to even greater things and to be a firm support to you in accomplishing them.

Failures can be stepping stones to virtues like humility, courage, and perseverance. They might also prompt you to turn to me, your mother who loves you, for aid in setting new goals, striving for them with renewed ambition, and eventually achieving them. Tears and bitterness won’t do. Smile bravely, my dear, and plan your strategy for winning the next time you attempt a feat. Don’t be afraid to aim high, for with me to uphold you, wonderful goals are within your reach. I promise.

™What are your short-term and long-term goals? Share them with Mary and ask for her help in procuring them.

When has an apparent failure turn out to be something good that you never expected?


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Melannie June 12, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Kathleen, I loved today’s reflection. It made me smile. What a positive attitude you displayed: “I did not succeed much as a pianist, but I was a good entertainer.” We don’t have to be a “professional” to put a little more love and joy into the world. Keep playing the piano… and keep writing! Melannie, SND


Mary Collins-Smith June 12, 2019 at 3:47 pm

How thoughtful. Keep trying then! 😊


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