I have a minor obsession with church signs. You know–the ones with cute sayings on them like ‘Ch – – ch’: What’s missing?’ This obsession is strange given the fact that I’m not even Christian, but then again I suppose cheesy puns appeal to people of all faiths.
Yesterday as I was driving to breakfast I passed the church I used to attend–or, rather, the church my parents used to make me attend even though they didn’t go themselves. This church has one of my favorite signs, perhaps because I have a personal connection to the church, perhaps because it’s an actual sign and not one of those tacky digital monstrosities so many churches have been switching to lately. Anyway–as I read the sign I smiled. It seemed to have been posted there, just for me. I thought about the sign all through breakfast and all the way home–or, rather, all the way back to the church where I actually pulled over and took this photo of said sign…
For those of you who can’t read it–sorry, the glare is bad, I know–it reads: Those who make no mistakes do little else. This little one-liner is really quite true, and I felt it applied to a great many things going on in my life right now, not the least of which is this break from teaching.
You see, I worry a lot about making mistakes. I really don’t want to have to look back over my life and say ‘if only I hadn’t…’. I’ve tried to live my life in a way that even if that did happen, I could un-do whatever I’d done. To be fair, I think I’ve done an ok job of making good decisions. Hell, I can even un-do my career break, as I didn’t actually quit, I just took a leave of absence.
But lately I’ve been having some serious concerns about a number of things. Is it the right thing for me to be taking this time away from work? Am I spending the time well? And speaking of spending, how should I be spending my now-very-limited money? Even simple things–like should we be going on our upcoming vacation–are starting to really freak me out. I’ve spent the last 36 hours contemplating canceling (or at least seriously abridging) that trip. Why? Because I’m afraid I’m making a mistake.
But this sign has a very good point. I can sit here and worry about making mistakes, worry about doing the wrong thing, and I won’t make any mistakes or do any wrong things. But I won’t do anything else, either. And that is not a good use of this year–or any year, month, week, day, or minute. Not at all.
So I’m going to accept the fact that during this year, I may make some mistakes. And that’s good. It just means that I was trying.