Do we need to make mistakes?


As I talked about a few posts ago, I lost my job and am currently unemployed. However, that doesn’t mean I am not working. Besides doing some freelance editing work, I am also trying to get my writing into gear, as you may be able to tell by the frequency of my posts this is one way.

The day I lost my job, I had tweeted about it and had mentioned that now I would have time to pursue my dream of writing. There was a reply asking what I would write about. I replied to the reply that maybe I could help others to not make the same mistakes I did. Then there was a reply to the replied to reply, saying “Just remember, everyone has to make their own mistakes.” And of course, this started me thinking:  “Really?”

Do we really need to make our own mistakes? If there are people who an help us to not make mistakes, wouldn’t the prudent thing to do be to listen to another’s advice? There is an old saying “If I knew then, what I know now”, and another is “As you get smarter, your parents get smarter.” What are these saying? As you get older, you get wiser. You learn things, most of the time the hard way. If you knew then what you know now, or if you knew what the results of the decisions you made would be, you would have made different choices. The same as when your parents would try to advise you about something, you would do the opposite, failing to realize that they more than likely made the same mistakes.

Now, I know we can’t undo what has been done, we can only move forward, but if someone can guide you through the journey of life, you might be advised to listen. Of course, there is a problem, one I am facing as I think about writing a book with some of the things I wish I knew then that I know now. How can you prove things would have been different? Since you cannot change what’s done, and as usually is the case (at least in my life anyway) one poor choice can lead to many others, how can you share this credibly?

After falling off the back of that truck and seriously thinking about lots of things, I know what my first mistake was, and it led to many others and significantly changed the course of my life. But how can I prove that? And to go back to the original statement, am I really better off because I made that mistake? Obviously I think not, well in some ways I am. Therefore, it isn’t best to make your own mistakes.

Now, as I have said before, everything happens according to God’s plan. Maybe this was His plan for me, to mess up my life so I would come back to Him. (This opens up a whole different theological can of worms however, like, if I hadn’t made bad choices, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and hence not following God’s plan.) I also feel it could be part of that plan for me to write and help others.

So as I sit in my little house on the lake, listening to the cold wind blow and watching the fire burning in the stove, this is what I am thinking about. How can I tell my story?

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