Failure (and dishwashers)

Here at the very end of 2017, I think it’s safe to say that my ambition to write a post a week may have been a bit of a misfire. Or a 34% success, depending on your half-a-glass mentality.

And while there are a thousand and one reasons for this, the truth is generally that life is so busy – there’s hardly time to capture it, let alone in blog form.

I sometimes wish that I had the energy to write my musings and stories at the end of each day, but as a husband, parent of two toddlers, double business owner and doggy daddy, I barely have enough energy to put the phone on charge at the end of a day. Perhaps fitting, then, that my youngest decided to start today at 5am with a Bing marathon. The first chance to write in a long time, albeit in a slightly zombified state.

I love my dishwasher. It’s something I never had growing up, and now it saves us as a family a lot of time. But as we enter the age of parenthood where every piece of cutlery and crockery requires a bare minimum of one animated character per utensil, I’m amazed at how much isn’t ‘dishwasher safe’. Essentially saying they’re too good for the norm. Or, more acurately, they are not high enough quality or strong enough to withstand the might of a dishwash. Of course, the warnings are irrelevant to me, if it fits in the dishwasher – it goes in the dishwasher. I’d shove our cooker in there if it fit.

Amazingly, none of the plates ‘not safe for dishwashers’ in our household have been destroyed (yet). They haven’t even lost their whimsical characters. Much to my girls’ delight.

In reflection of the year gone by, I think it’s been about taking my ‘not dishwasher safe’ label off. Really testing my character print. Wow that works on two levels. Didn’t even plan that one. And the removal has not been a rainbow breeze. It’s not happened by adding warm soapy water and a gradual peel. More of a long, agonising, hair-ripping, skin-scraping extraction. The lessons learned and the challenges summounted, this year will be remembered to me as a year of emotional extremity.

At the start of the year, the outlook almost promised to be the year we would buy a house, become a limited company and bring to a close the sleepless nights as our youngest went from baby to toddler.

None of those things happened.

And while many failures are mistakes that can be learned from, all of the above are completely outside of my family’s control – which makes these particular ‘failures’ a lot harder to accept. But there is one fantastically large lesson that can be taken from these hurdles of the year gone by.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
– God, via Isaiah

It’s a heavily quoted verse, and a lesson that I seem to be in need of refresher course regularly – but that doesn’t make it any easier to fully accept. If, indeed, God is my god then I need to accept that He is in control. That the end result may not come the way I imagine it to. And even that the end result I foresee may not be the whole picture that God has in store.

Without quoting or misquoting more Bible verses, it’s safe to conclude that God’s love for us is far greater than we can comprehend – and that same love will only ever result in what’s best for us. Even when sometimes it’s not what we think we need at the time.

Let me be clear, please don’t think I am ungrateful for the good things that are in my life right now – and for the successes of the year gone by. I could not ask for a more perfect wife or more incredible children – all of which I thank God daily for. Nor can I quite believe the way our businesses are expanding under His blessing and our hard work.

So looking ahead into tomorrow’s 2018; I hope I have learned a painful lesson about what the year holds. I have hopes and expectations, but I hold them loosely. In the same way that I regard the term ‘dishwasher safe’.

Happy New Year everyone.