The story of how my career as the concert pianist was grounded is short and depressing.
All because of one silly, little key. An off-note during a recital. Out of all five songs I played that night, I missed one note. And in that jarring, simple slip, I felt the world crushing in from behind me. I stopped. I froze. Too embarrassed to finish the song. And after that I swore I'd never, ever play for anyone again (dramatic much?)
I told myself my playing was for me, I enjoyed it, found it therapeutic. But several months went by and eventually I stopped playing. So maybe I would have never been a famous concert pianist. But I could've. We'll never know.
But isn't that how it goes sometimes? We're so afraid of failing we never even try. We sell ourselves short and doge the spot light because heaven forbid anyone should see us fail. But it's not what we're called to.
We are like the servant in Jesus' parable, who, being so afraid to invest the talent given to him by his master, buried it in the ground. There underneath the cold, dark ground it sat alone until the master asked for it back. And while the other servants had invested their gifts and talents bringing their master back more than they were given, the scared servant handed back a grubby, mud-covered coin.
Ultimately so afraid to fail, he failed to do anything.
`I relate to this servant. The first time I heard this story, I remember thinking in the beginning that he was the wise one. Until I got to the end and realized that he, and I, had completely missed the point of the talents: our gifts are given to us to invest, and nothing else.
We're asked to risk failure, at the risk of making something beautiful. You might miss a note. You might miss most of the notes. But you didn't fail to try.
There's grace enough to stand back up and try for the second, tenth, and sixtieth time.
More importantly when you fail there's grace. Grace enough to stand back up and try for the second, tenth, and sixtieth time. Grace will tend to your wounds, wipe your tears and remind you your identity isn't in your success or failure. Not anymore. And for that reason, you're freed to try again and be brave enough to fail.