Friday, March 12, 2010


No one likes failure. But I think it's fair to say that I dislike it more than most.

I'm a perfectionist. I'm not as bad as I used to be (endless tears if I got less than an A on my math homework), but I'm still working on it.

I went to get my driver's permit today. I could've gotten it months ago, but I never had a real desire to like anyone else.

Leading up to my testing, I heard all my friends say what should have been reassuring words.

"You'd have to have no common sense to fail it."

"It's the easiest test on the face of the planet."

"Just take the practice tests and you'll be fine."

"John McSmiggen passed it! And everyone knows he's failing all of his classes!"

As we dropped Levi off at school, I heard Dad say while unbuckling him, "Next time you see Tori, she'll be a permitted driver."

While all of these words should have been encouraging, I took them a different way. All of these people were expecting me to pass. If I didn't, I would be lowering their expectations of me, incapable of doing what they all thought I could.

With all these thoughts whirling around in my head, you can imagine how tense I was when we reached the driver license office. The first thing they did was test my vision. I'd noticed that things were a little more blurry lately, but it didn't seem to be affecting anything. Until the vision test. I could read alright on my left side and perfectly in the middle, but I couldn't see any of the letters on the left. None. At this point, I was hyperventilating. So nervous that I would fail without even having taken the written test.

Thankfully, the man accepted my vision, even thought it wasn't perfect. I then proceeded to enter the testing room and was placed in a mini cubicle with an old computer to take the test. When I missed my fourth answer, I felt tears start to spring into my eyes. My breathing was heavy and I felt like I would start crying at any moment. When I missed my seventh answer, the test came to a stop. I had heard you were only allowed to miss six, but maybe the test was just at an end. Maybe the man would pass me because he liked me.

I should've known better. It was not smart of me to get my hopes up, only to have them dashed by three simple words out of the mouth of a stranger - "You didn't pass."

I quickly retrieved the keys from my dad and ran to our car, finally letting out all the pent up emotion I had felt during and after the test. I had failed. Failed. I never failed. I thought back to the words of all those who had encouraged me.

"You'd have to have no common sense to fail it."

"The next time you see Tori, she'll be a permitted driver."

I had let everyone down, including myself. I cried more than I've cried in months today. Failure was foreign to me, until today. I wasn't used to it. I wasn't used to falling below my own expectations, let alone everyone else's. I was ashamed of myself, absolutely mortified. I was hesitant to tell anybody. I was hesitant to blog about it.

But my parents explained to me that maybe this failure was a blessing. There'd always be failure and I would have to learn to deal with it. Maybe one day one of my kids will fail their drivers' permit test, and I'll be able to tell them, "That's okay. I did too." Or maybe a friend will fail it, and I'll be able to support them through that. As much as I hate failure, it's good to know that my failure may be a help to someone else someday.

I'm not very good at dealing with failure, but I'm learning. I'm learning that failure is always going to be there, but we have to be thankful for it. We have to understand that God has everything planned out - even failure.

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