Learning from mistakes; or, the park is still too muddy to walk across


Mud as far as the eye can seeIt 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.


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