I try so hard. On some level, I suppose I try to be perfect. I mean, who wants to be wrong? I spent a lot of years and missed opportunities, being afraid my lack of skill, knowledge or confidence would be revealed if I tried something and faltered or failed.
In recent years, I've been gaining or regaining some confidence. I'm far from fearless, but I've grown bolder in taking measured risks to follow through on my heart's desires, whether it's to express something in writing, sing a song in public, make a commitment or get involved with a cause I care about.
So, when my Mom kindly pointed out that my heartfelt Father's Day blog had a a big old factual error, some old feelings surfaced. Shame. Embarrassment. And a tinge of sadness.
"Why did you not know that your Daddy graduated from high school?" was her question. In the past, I would have stayed stuck on shame and embarrassment. How, indeed, could I not have known? But this time, I responded with possible reasons. I couldn't remember hearing it talked about. I thought he went to a community school through the eighth-grade. It's still hard for me to think of him going almost 20 miles to Gainesville High School in the 1940s. Over the years, my mind filled in a gap by assuming he didn't go to or graduate from high school.
The neat thing is, I'm glad to have the record set straight; better late than never. Since I learned of my error last Sunday, I've found myself wondering what else I don't know -- and realizing I'll probably never fill in all the gaps. I've never been that good at history and remembering details. In fact, it's possible I knew this detail about Daddy, but just forgot -- completely!
Another tendency I've had in the past is to get frustrated and bogged down in regret over things I don't know or didn't do. Why haven't I gone to graduate school? Why am I not more organized? Why have I not accomplished more professionally? How can I not know so many things that everyone else seems to know, from popular quotes from current and classic movies, literature and songs to what part of their state various cities are in. One of my biggest vulnerabilities is all the stuff I think I should know that either I've forgotten, never learned or just didn't pay enough attention to realize. I can get depressed thinking of all the things I could do if I didn't waste time watching sports on TV or surfing the Internet or whatever my latest distraction is.
I'm not proud of my lack of focus in setting goals and making the most of my life and opportunties, but I'm no longer ashamed, either. As I get older, I'm trying to pay more attention, again thinking it's better late than never, but also realizing my memory's probably not going to be as good at keeping track as it might have been if I'd been more disciplined when I was younger. Most days, I accept who I am, even as I strive to improve. Daily Bible reading and prayer help immensely, reminding me my life is in God's hands. I'm trying to trust that as I continue to seek God, all the other things will add up, to His glory, and I'll know what I need to know and do what I need to do.