“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams (Creator – Dilbert Comic strip)
I’m told that a batting average of .300 (which in baseball is considered extremely high) means that a guy only gets a base hit about thirty percent of the times he’s at bat.
A medical professional recently told me that the reason medicine was called a “practice” is because it is comprised of “guesses based in scientific facts”. This revealed the medical arts to be much more inexact than I might like to think.
Richard Rohr, a Catholic mystic says that we come to God much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.
The more maturely we look at failure the more we realize that we need it. Failure is the context in which we are reminded of our humanity and leads us to proper understandings of our need for mercy.
I have learned a great deal from those proverbial strikeouts – that seventy percent of the time (or more) that I swing and never hit anything. I’ve had to recalculate many times in the course of my life when my guesses based on what I thought were facts didn’t yield the expected result. Allowing myself to accept my mistakes, not to mention trying to determine which mistakes to keep and call it art, is a recent hurdle for me.
Coming to God more from doing it wrong than doing it right can be the most confounding of all. Our pride tells us that our doing it right makes relationship with God something that can be achieved. The upside down concept of being driven into the arms of perfection through failure is something that only mercy can deliver.
As I begin to accept the reality that on my best days I only hit the ball thirty percent of the time and that my greatest art is the sum of my best chosen mistakes then I am in a very different place than if I see myself as a baseball hall of fame candidate or the next Picasso.
Our brokenness is where mercy finds us but it isn’t where mercy leaves us.
Mercy flows much more freely from me when I live in a reality that constantly reminds me of my need for it.
Mercy allows me to reclaim myself and reclaim those that I’ve held as hostages in the prison of my resentments.
Mercy is about walking through the wounded world with wounded people and watching what we thought were mistakes become beautiful pieces of art in the hands of God.