We once rescued a beautiful Siberian Husky from the shelter. He was about two years old and we knew nothing of his past. He was found wandering the streets and had been in the shelter for nearly a year. We fell in love immediately. The icing on the cake; our three pound yorkie, Emmy loved him and he cowered to her. We adopted him to give as a Christmas gift to our youngest son Jessey. Juno was a great dog. He loved everyone, was housebroke and an absolute sweetheart. Until, we left him for any amount of time. The first time, we left him in the house while we went to dinner; he chewed up a few Christmas presents, part of the tree and some ornaments. “Maybe he’s bored” we thought. So we bought him a chewy kong and filled it with peanut butter. The next time was a bit more destructive. It was during the day and I had a meeting. I was gone for about two-three hours. Juno and Emmy, were left to hold down the fort. When I came home I was utterly devastated. In front of me were my two beautiful royal palms that I had brought in the house, from our sun room, for the cold winter days. I had them for a few years and they were magnificent plants. But sweet Juno panicked and he destroyed the palms. They were shredded to bits. The only thing left of them was a tiny stick of green about two inches tall. You would never know how big they used to be or how full and beautiful they were. After Juno’s panic attack, he took my glorious mature palms and chopped them down to what looked like a seedling. The pots were sideways and the dirt from them were spread across my dining, kitchen and living room floors. And the palm leaves; they were chewed to smithereens, shook and shredded. Laid waste. Gone. Kaputz. A pitiful pile of palm parts.
We deduced with our incredible sleuthing skills, that Juno, had separation anxiety. He did not know I wasn’t coming back. He panicked and went berserk with his fear. He was a frightened frenzy of fluff.
As I was cleaning up the mess and I couldn’t blame him, he was still so new to our home. We were all still getting to know each other. He knew who we were, when we were there, he just was ignorant to who we were when we were gone. (sound familiar? We are fully confident God when we have all the feels, but when trouble its, we panic)
He did not know we were not abandoners. He may have been measuring us to his former owners. Maybe the palms were triggers. He was ignorantly destructive. So in his fear, he destroyed.
As I picked up my beautiful palm tree and their pots, and scooping the dirt back around her large roots, I related to the little toothpick size stub that was left. I too had been the target of someone’s panic and destruction. I was demolished and my reputation was laid waste from lies and gossip. All that I had worked for and towards was destroyed in a moment of survival and anxiety by a betraying friend. I was measured by someone’s memory of pain. I was the palm trees that took the lashing.
Like the palms, there was no way of knowing who I used to be, if your hands were not part of placing dirt back around my roots. If you judged me by what was left after the moment of destruction, I would look like a sprig sticking out of dirt. And though I wasn’t responsible for the destructions, I was responsible to heal, rebuild and move forward.
Praise God for a Father who is willing to get down in the dirt and cultivate us and loves us, heal us and bring us back.
He comforts and heals the destructor and the destroyed.
Juno, eventually learned to trust and feel safe. As for my palms. They went to palm heaven. There was no coming back from that, I had to start over with new ones.
Let’s look at the three points of mistakes or failures in this story.
The Juno’s: The one responsible for making the blunder
The Palm Trees: Those impacted by said blunders
The cleaners: Those given the job of addressing or cleaning up after the blunders. The street sweeper, the Roomba, the sin eater.
Ignorance can be a big contributor in our mistakes and failures. Without failures, though, many things would not get accomplished or invented.
Failure is the effort towards progress. As long as we are learning as we fail, we are falling forward.
I learned much about Juno that day. Number one, no more plants in the house. Number two, crate him, or take him. Both Juno and I were trained in a few things.
Failure only works if we are teachable and humble enough to learn. Gods not in the business of humiliating us, he is in the business of remaking us. Often times what we think is a failure is part of Gods divine plane.
To quote Mia Angelo, “When you know better, do better”
Lets face some fact; Failures are part of our life. Some are wonderful mistakes that surpise us with remarkable outcomes. But often times, we are mortified by our blunders or by someone else’s. (I cant watch American Idol with the bad singers, I cringe and am so embarrassed for them.)
Sometimes we are Juno’s, hurting someone with our shortcoming. Other times we are the palm trees, being shredded by another failures. And some days we are the ones assigned to clean the mess, help another pick up the pieces and begin again. All three require grace and grit from Jesus and unconditional love. So chin up, if you’re failing there is grace to fail forward. If you’ve been failed, you are offered arms of comfort and hands that heal. And If you are the cleaners, you are Grace’s hands, feet and heart. You are Jesus with skin on.