It is so easy to say that we should learn from our mistakes. Far less easy to put into action. Big mistakes, like marrying the wrong person or taking out a mortgage you can’t afford, may be easier to spot when they come round again. But the smaller mistakes, like picking up the wrong set of keys or taking a short cut through the park after a night of heavy rain in canvas shoes, seem to recur without conscious thought.
I think it’s that lack of consciousness about what I’m doing that leaves me recurrently slip-sliding and ankle-splashed with mud. Of a morning it takes all my conscious thought to wash, dress and ready myself for the day ahead. Taking a moment to remember why I have been avoiding the park all week is clearly a step too far for 8am. Which may also explain why, 20 metres into my impromptu hike, I decide not to turn around but instead to plough on with ill-conceived pride.
Yes, I have made a mistake, but damned if I don’t see it through, my conscious thought kicks in. Too late to save my nice clean boots.
In Philippians 3:13 St Paul says, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Sure, the context of his statement is a little more esoteric than my taking the messy route into work, but I like to think it’s metaphorical on both our parts.