As a Boy Scout leader, I volunteer for a variety of events. My schedule as a volunteer is rather heavy, and I am careful to note obligations on my calendar. Having everything on my calendar helps me plan all the details of each event from the timeline to the checklists. Proactively planning helps me keep everything in order.
On this particular weekend, I had planned to lead Cub Scouts in some advancement activities. It was going to be so much fun: I had several outside and inside games planned, a slideshow assembled, some songs to sing and some discussion topics planned. And the weather is perfect for playing outside! Yep, it was going to be fabulous. As I pulled up to beautiful Beaumont Scout Reservation, I had a gnawing feeling that something was just not right. There were too many cars in the parking lot. When I walked in the lodge I found out the event I had done so much planning for was actually a week earlier. I had missed the event completely.
I felt awful as I thought about the leaders who had to scramble to cover for my absence and the Cub Scouts who were let down – maybe they weren’t able to complete their advancement requirements because of my mistake.
Immediately I wrote an email to the event coordinator to offer my apologies. In an attempt to figure out where I had gone wrong I searched my emails for details about the event and saw that the last email included all of the pertinent pieces of information – including the date. In hindsight I realized when I received the email, I had read it too quickly to take note of all of the information. In my haste I approached the email looking for confirmation of what I thought I knew, which resulted in the date being missed. Had I slowed down a bit and approached the email with a more open mind and with the intent to gather the information within it, I suspect I would have noticed I had the wrong date in my calendar.
The event coordinator replied to my email quickly. He would have been justified had he expressed disappointment and anger. Instead he told me that things worked out and to not worry about it.
Yep, I made a mistake. But that mistake does not have to overshadow the future due in part to the coordinator’s acceptance and forgiveness of my mistake. Grace was in action. Grace does not change what happened; however, it changes the present and the future by liberating us from being trapped by our own mistakes – if we allow it. I also have to forgive myself and learn from this experience.
Usually my clients come to me at low points in their lives. They feel trapped by what they perceive as their own inadequacies and mistakes. We work to recognize the power of their experiences on how they think and act today. We create a safe place where the past can be forgiven and the future rewritten so they can create the life that they want to live.
Today’s experience reminded me of the super power of grace to open us up to positive change. I also am reminded that haste constricts our perspectives and slowing down provides the cognitive space to take in the details of life.
It’s OK. And it’s going to be better.