I am ok.
The thing about failing at something- in this case- a CD that has (so far) gotten very little radio play and even fewer purchases- is this:
Failure is inevitable.
And also- I don’t care what the numbers say or the charts read. Sure, there are nights when I cry and curse and pout and decide I will quit. But those voices- those numbers and charts don’t define the value of what I have created. I wrote ten songs. Me! A girl who had no idea she could write ten songs, let alone write songs that tell the story of my journey and the human experience as we wait out the unknown deserts of life. It may not rank high on the charts or be a best-seller; but it is honest and true to the places God has led me. He. The Good Shepherd.
And telling the story of how the Shepherd has led me was never meant to be monetized in the first place- was it?
So many uncomfortable thoughts and questions.
And the truth is, our culture is simply not good at uncomfortable waiting and uncomfortable questions.
A few months ago I came downstairs and found Ryan watching another one of his never-ending endless Netflix documentaries. The amount of documentaries these days seems ridiculous. Documentaries on bikes and motorcycles and wheelchairs and farms and guns and medicine and food and internet dating and vagabonds. It’s endless. This time, he was watching a documentary with little talking, mostly in sub-titles, and all about Sushi. Seriously? A documentary on Sushi making?
I totally judged him and the entire film-making community in one fatal swoop.
And then- I heard the man on the film say something that stopped me in my tracks. Literally, I was in the kitchen working and came into the living room and said, “re-wind that.”
The movie, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, draws me in. Not because of the amazing culinary genius or the exquisite food created by the 3 star Michelin rated chef- but because it paints the story of a man who has devoted everything to perfecting the art of his craft. His son, who has apprenticed under his father, tells about the years of practice and learning that happens before a single egg is allowed to be cracked in Jiro’s kitchen. The years he spent watching and training under his dad before he was allowed to create his own batch of rice. Years before he was allowed to make rice? That’s the part I made Ryan re-wind.
I’ve been making rice- mostly crunchy- since the 5th grade.
Did he really say it was ten years before he was allowed to make rice?
The ridiculous amount of time Jiro has lavished on this one thing stopped me dead in my tracks and I wept through most of Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
“JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is about a spiritual journey towards perfection. But it is not about achieving perfection. It is about the act of striving for it. The film is breathtaking, inspirational and most of all humbling. ”- Eric Ripert, Chef/Co-Owner Le Bernardin.
This is an entire film dedicated to patience. An entire film about someone who went TEN YEARS before he was allowed to cook his first batch of rice.
Do you know anyone- honestly- who has apprenticed at anything for ten years before attempting it? Much less making a bowl of rice?
This movie is shocking because watching it, you become aware of your aversion to patience. Your aversion to waiting.
Waiting is uncomfortable.
It is uncomfortable for the person who is having to wait and it is uncomfortable for the on-looker.
It’s like watching the Olympic athletes preparing to flip off of the high-dive. It is excruciating. Your heart beats faster than there’s. You hold your breath. Unable to move. Slightly frozen by the fear of the height and the audacity of the jump. The anxiety for the onlooker is paralyzing. JUMP ALREADY. JUST GET IT OVER WITH. JUUUMMMPPP.
Make yourself a freaking bowl of rice!!! DO IT.
The athlete’s ability to wait in the middle of the tension and only jump when they are good and ready is heart-attack inducing for those of us just wanting to hurry up and get them off the high-dive before they slip and fall and lose control and get hurt.
Our aversion to patience- our propensity to hurry along the person who is waiting, preparing- speaks deeply to the state of our souls. We just want it to be fixed for them. We want to end their suffering and wrap up those tense moments of untold waiting with a pretty bow.
We are a people averse to waiting. We like short-cuts and quick answers. Happy endings that don’t have to be fought for. That don’t require mountains to climb and valleys to languish in before getting to the finish line. Watching someone else wait- is like watching a slug die. Brutal. Tie that in with little glimmers of failure as the person waits out the desert?
We cannot bear to watch someone walk through it.
So to boldly tell the world you are stuck. Waiting. A semi-failure at your current gig. Unsure of what comes next. Wrestling with what comes next and why the dreams aren’t panning out is hard. Because hand in hand with that message is this:
I am ok with the waiting.
I am thriving in the desert.
While those who love me want me to jump already (for my own safety, of course)
I am ok standing tippy-toed on the edge of the diving board.
Do I want to jump?
Absolutely. I cannot wait to jump.
But until then- my eyes are focused. Locked in. My feet gripped firmly. Freely. My spirit is being prepared. My soul renewed. I am becoming brave. I am becoming centered. I am becoming purposeful. I am becoming prepared.
I am becoming.
And there is no other place that I want to be.
I am ok with this season of waiting.
And you can be too.