I’ve been writing notes and sending cards since we’ve been shut away from friends and church family. Sometimes it’s a text message or an email to say, “I’m thinking of you today.” But I’ve also been refilling my supply of stamps and note cards regularly as I send out snail mail.
Last week, I discovered an extra set of stamps that I’d bought long ago and I was so excited about the little unexpected blessing: Stamps when I thought I was almost out of stamps. What a blessing!
It was like waking up to manna or miraculous oil in a near-empty jug or wine overflowing when the wedding feast ran out of wine. All those things.
I happily mailed out a few more cards.
Then this week, my daughter asked me if she could mail some cards also, so I pulled out those extra stamps and saw what I’d missed before: the word “Postcard” in teeny tiny, minuscule letters on the bottom.
That’s why those stamps had been sitting for a good long while. I bought them to mail out a few postcards and the extras just sat and sat.
I’ve been stressing about this for days now. Apparently, I’ve been sending out regular cards with only postcard postage.
Great. Either the cards will return back to me so I can have a re-do (I love a good re-do), or the post office will deliver my cards and actually ask other people to pay the missing postage.
I’d rather the secret re-do option, of course. But I have no power here. I’m at the mercy of the postal service.
So, I wait.
It’s the silliest little mistake, but a mistake I’ve been fretting over nonetheless. That’s partly because all of this coronavirus shifting we’ve been doing has brought so much failing our way to success over here.
We’re doing new things in new ways and that can get messy and exhausting.
Technology alone brings it’s own growing pains. Try this video, this sound, this streaming program, this way of filming, this way of posting. And all along the way we leave a trail of trying, messing up, and trying again.
I also can’t keep my dates straight, at all. I keep thinking Mother’s Day is this week and not next week. The days are just running all together.
All of these mess-ups leave us so tender-hearted. So humbled. How many times can we say the words, “Sorry. That didn’t work. My bad. I missed that. I made a mistake. I used the wrong stamp.?” (I’m still so embarrassed about the stamps.)
But so many of us are in the same place.
That’s the thing.
I’m so compassionate and deeply grateful as I see my kids’ teachers trying so many new things every single day. I think—-thank you, friends, for putting yourself out there for my kids. For getting on Zoom videos and Facebook live posts and whatever else is happening. I know some of them would prefer not to be on a video. I GET that. I don’t want to be in videos either. But they do it anyway.
Then there are days the sound doesn’t work or the screen is backwards or the link they thought they posted didn’t post or didn’t work or whatever whatever. I feel like saying, “Solidarity, my friend! I am with you. We are all trying so hard and it’s imperfect and messy, but we’re genuine and humbled and real and just making it through.”
We can shake off the old, the broken, the mistake-ridden the failure and the mess up because we have this grace: We can try again.
And, even if a new days is full of new mistakes, Jesus isn’t giving up on me or on any of us.
I read this promise in Scripture:
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease (Genesis 8:22 ESV).
The rhythms of creation itself are a reassurance of the rhythm of grace.
Day and night come ceaselessly. I will wake up to a new day, a fresh start, an opportunity to try again and maybe even get it right this time (and to buy new stamps.)
More than that, whole seasons come and go with certainty.
One bad year of planting isn’t the end. One season of hard soil, no rain, or destruction from storms and pests isn’t the end.
Spring comes anew and I can plow the field fresh, drop the seeds into the earth, and look forward to a better harvest.
The failures of one day, one moment even, are only permanent if I choose to give up instead of going forward.
Fresh starts and new beginnings: That’s what God promises us, season after season, day after day.