October 18 – Honey of My Failures – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt—marvelous error!—that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.” Antonio Machado
It seems impossible, but every humbled life has cried it is so: The sweetness of living comes to us when the very humanness we regret and try to hide, our seeming flaws and shameful secrets, are worked by time and nature into a honey all their own. Ultimately, it is where we are not perfect— where we are broken and cracked, where the wind whistles through—that is the stuff of transformation.
Like other people, many of the things I’ve wanted to be have crumbled over time into cinders that have sparked the very next dream. And the hurtful things I’ve never meant to say have thickened my tongue over time into a kindness I didn’t think possible. And each time I’ve failed at being what someone else needed or wanted or hoped for, each time I’ve failed at being what I needed or wanted or hoped for—each failure at love has solidified into unexpected learnings. The painful shavings of one love have become the spices of joy in the next.
They say that Cupid’s shafts, when not landing in the heart, were ordinary arrows that wounded the innocent. Like Cupid,we try so hard, but missing, hurt those along the way until we land squarely in the heart. And,when we miss, we are wounded as much as those we wound.
None of this lessens the pain of our journey, but it gives me comfort that our failures—our unexpected stumblings—are the very human paste from which we are made sweet.
Just know, when everything is falling apart, that you are preparing the ground of you for something ripe that can’t yet be seen, but which, in time,will be tasted.