Life is made up of many things, and mistakes are part of them. They are an inevitable part of life’s journey, woven inextricably into our genetic codes. It is a necessary part of our everyday lives. I dare say, it is a phenomenon we cannot do without – just because it is inescapable. To err is human.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that we are condemned to a life of continuous errors and corrections, and further errors, and more corrections. This is one of the many cycles of life. This is what growth entails: that we err, we question, we change. Thus, our lives become a permanent revolution, and a progressive development over past errors.
You see, we have all made mistakes, and we will continue to do so – from the astounding, to the minute; the life-changing, to the insignificant.
Some have made those errors that shook their entire world to its very foundations; those assorted errors that usher momentous reflections on how others are better-off than we are.
Making mistakes can be gravely devastating. But, we are human. We make mistakes. And, it is a common error among ignorant people, that human nature ought to be a flight beyond the reach of missteps.
It is an established fact, fortunate or unfortunate, we are mistake-making creatures.
Methinks, far from being inevitable, mistakes are also necessary. Necessary faults that form the building blocks of life’s project. Without an error we would not have penicillin, a scientific discovery placed as one of the most important, after electricity. So, making mistakes, sometimes, is not, entirely, a mistake. The crippling fear, however, of making a mistake is almost always a mistake. We have to embrace the reality that we make mistakes, for we are, after-all, in a mistake-making reality.
By extension, we have to accept the reality that others can also err. I would naturally expect a single mother who had had an unplanned pregnancy out of wedlock to be more compassionate to a young girl who gets impregnated, unintentionally, by a boyfriend. Just because the single mother ought to understand, that though it ought not to be, it is a human possibility. It becomes evident that, we ought to be compassionate if others make certain mistakes; because, we too, being human, are subject to those same mistakes. The wise, knowing they err, accept that others err, and are therefore, more understanding – more merciful.
I really do not want to sound as one of these run of the mill inspirational books, abi motivational books. Not intentionally, at least.
Writing about this very topic was brought about when someone had called a friend and said, “You’ve made a mistake, and you’ll regret it”. This comment was apropos a decision he had had just made in his personal life.
You see, he had taken, what others would tag, a great risk; plunging into the uncertain space of the future. So, the embrace of this great risk was birthed out of the death of a great fear – “fear brewed out of uncertainty”. A dear friend, Chinonso Eze, once wrote concerning this great fear, he said: “what could best describe its nature, if not the simplest of things that we’ve been through, over and over again, that they have become traditions. Whenever these moments come we still have that hesitation… There has always been this fear whenever I’m about to go into an exam hall or enter a football field for a match… This fear that brewed out of uncertainty are what make things complicated and it could cow us into not wanting to take action or make decisions because of the risk of failure.”
Nonetheless, we do embrace the uncertainty of the exam hall or of the football field; we refuse to be crippled to inaction by the fear of its uncertainty. We take the risk; we make the mistakes; we learn from the experience. This should be extrapolated into our life. To fear mistakes is to fear the risk; to fear the risk is to fear progression. The uncertainties life presents make mistakes inevitable, and risks a necessity.
Some remain in situations that have become abusive, violent, intolerable; they remain because of the fear of the uncertain ‘outside’, of the risk in leaving; what if I leave and it becomes a mistake. So they stay, singing the psalms of “e go better”. For some, the abuses end; for others, their physical life ceases; the majority remain in-between.
Realistically, no one wants to make superfluous mistakes. I know I don’t. If I do, as I surely will, I pray I learn from them. And I pray, I make good ones – better mistakes – the best ones. Take necessary risks, and live life well. And I pray that God gives us the grace to enjoy their consequences.
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