Everything is good for something, as a wise father liked to tell his young son. Well, yes, in some cases. But how can something like failure be good for anything? What good can it possibly be, when it is so painful and disappointing? Father Richard Rohr says that we come to God not by doing it right, but by doing it wrong, because mistakes teach us about our human weakness and our need for God. They teach us our need of forgiveness—from others, from God, and from ourselves. Mistakes and failures teach us we are not in control, but dependent on God and other people. They teach us that, just as we are forgiven in spite of our imperfections, so we are called to forgive others. Failure is not attractive to us, and we do not seek it out. But it is a husk around the valuable gifts of humility and character development. If we want these gifts, we need to peel away the rough exterior to claim the treasures inside.
By Delores Dufner, OSB