Perhaps you can relate to a subject that I am very familiar with… failure. It happens. It can wreak havoc on me and those around me for a while and for that strain on my family and friends, I apologize. But in the 50 some years since I left 8th grade, I have come to understand ever so slowly, that failure is inevitable and it lives alongside success. And to compound the challenge success is defined differently at different times.

That’s the kicker, isn’t it? Sometimes, there is a razor-thin margin between success and failure and one or both may not fully revealed for years to come. That’s where faith comes in.

OK, that sounds a bit cliched I know but bear with me. In a few moments (and over other “Rich’s Rants”) I am going to get some help from Peter Dinklage, Denzel Washington, and Jim Carey to help make the point.

In 1969, I received a gift – I learned one of my first lessons in risk, failure and reward on a stage… entirely in French, no less. Thank you Fr. Gerard. Thank you Samuel Beckett.

For those of you not familiar with the play “While Waiting For Godot”, Samuel Beckett’s two bums are relegated to life on a barren roadside. They have clearly failed in life, at least as they understand success and failure in that moment.

What the haggard bums on the side of the road do have is each other’s tenuous friendship that moves in and out a kind of “Bromance”. The entire play is almost exclusively one-liners, a back-and-forth between the two bums, Vladimir and Estragon.

They move from to anger to reconciliation to resignation and back again, as they wait for God(ot) to bring them some relief and maybe even rescue. It ends well, but not.

To this day, I have the occasional nightmare that it is 1969 all over again, and I am up on stage and have now forgotten one of my lines. In 1969 I didn’t blow one line. Age and 50 years. Ha.

Recently, Game of Thrones’ star, Peter Dinklage reminded us that there are barren lands in our lives. These are moments when we must make a decision, pursue it and then give yourself permission to fail.

Yes, fail. Failure is very often the seedbed of success. True.

Peter Dinklage references the words of Samuel Beckett when Beckett commented on the play many years ago:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail better. Treat everyone kindly and light up the night”.

Thank you Fr, Gerard, Samuel Beckett and Peter Dinklage.


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