I Could be Mistaken


My mistakes remind me of airport security announcements— there are way too many of them, and every one is annoying.

Like the morning I was stomping through the house complaining about the clutter. I ended up in my closet, where I was throwing out things I hadn’t worn since the days when parachute pants seemed like a good idea. Among the items on my discard pile was a tie tack. It was nicely packaged in a little box, so it must have been a gift from someone.

But I had never worn it in the past. And I intended that my ties would live unfettered and free in the future.
My wife saw the box. “You’re throwing out the special tie tack I gave you,” she stated. In my mind, a warning light began to flash.

She reached into the box, and under the cotton padding was a tiny card.

Somewhere I thought I heard the beepbeep- beep of a microwave indicating that my goose was cooked.

She opened the card and began to read. “I bought this when I was 16 to give to my future husband as a gift …“Oh, no,” I groaned.

“Give it back.” “Don’t worry,” she said as she took the box away. “I’ll give it to my next husband.” So I started an extended apology with three acts and an intermission.

Because of my goofs, I have to apologise all the time.

Sorry, ma’am. Next time I will remember to cover my mouth when I sneeze. Can I order another pizza for your table?” It’s the sheer quantity of mistakes that gets me down. Almost every day there is a little epiphany of failure. “Officer, now that you mention it, I did see that sign back there.” This burden might be easier to bear if it appeared that everyone is slipping up as often as I am. But that is not the case. When my wife makes a mistake.

it’s as strange and unfamiliar as a solar eclipse. The other day she was navigating through an automated phone system and pressed the wrong number. This upset her so much that I had to stay up part of the night calming her down.

Unlike her, I’m used to making mistakes.

But it does get embarrassing after a while. Deep down, I have always believed that faith in God would provide some kind of advantage in avoiding blunders.

I hoped to hear a voice from heaven that said, “No, you don’t want to buy that suit. It bunches up around the shoulders.” But it doesn’t seem to work that way. I never wake up in the middle of the night with a strong impression to correct line 22 on my tax return.

Instead, God writes down which mistakes are important to avoid, “Don’t lie,” He says. “And don’t wish longingly to dig up your neighbour’s new spa and move it to a more convenient location.” That’s sin. Those other things that we call mistakes don’t hurt much besides our pride. Without pride, we would be as amused by our mistakes as we are by the mistakes of others.

Yesterday a young person who was helping with the church service mentioned a text in the book of “Philippines,” referring to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

The congregation loved the error in pronunciation. And the young man finished his presentation without a blush.

That’s the way to do it. If you think it’s worth fretting over your goofs and struggling to protect your dignity, you would be mistaken.

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