I used to work with a bully. He was self-promoting, cocky and condescending. He was impatient. He was mean. He was the boss. And he had absolutely no use for me at all.
Because I made mistakes.
I wasn’t the only one, but I was usually right at the top of his list.
And every single time he found even the slightest error, made by me or anyone else – even those not yet on the list – his first response was an ugly big-boy tantrum. Followed by: “What can we do to make sure this never happens again?” He was quite sure that, by stamping his feet and relentlessly shaming, he could force people to perfection. He truly – and sadly – believed the delusion: Mistakes are completely optional.
Nobody was ever good enough. For almost two of those three years, I disappeared a little bit more every day. I started to believe the “perfect” lie. Good golly, Miss Molly.
This man’s No Mistakes Allowed world was unrealistic and extreme. But that insidious demand for a environment without blemish is slowing spreading.
We have so many fail-safes and support systems in our First World that anything unpleasant must surely be avoidable. Backspace and cosmetic surgery are so commonplace that simple mistakes and flaws are inexcusable.
We are so accustomed to seamless living that we point and blame human carelessness for human tragedy.
But, my loves, the cruelty of men and nature is real. This side of Heaven, we will experience awful things and sad things. It’s not if – it is surely when.
Most of us will do our best and make mistakes. Others will choose to hate and do the unspeakable.
But all of us will be wounded no matter how much bubble-wrap we use. We will experience accidents. We will suffer hatefulness. We will endure the despicable and the catastrophic.
All of us. You and me.
And I don’t want to be that girl. The one who would rather point than comfort. The one who rolls her eyes instead of dropping to her knees. The one who thinks she’s bubble-wrapped, perfect and safe, and everyone else is just wrong or careless.
Please, dear Jesus, please. I don’t want to be that girl. Please help me shed the bubble-wrap — and simply wrap my arms around those who are wounded and hurting.
Just like You did.
Just like You do.