Have you ever dropped the ball and then dropped it again? Made the same mistake twice or many times? Have you not learnt from your past errors and messed up repeatedly?
I would like to say I have not but recently in the small hours of one Sunday morning I did.
Recently our lovely youngest daughter Cassandra celebrated her 21st birthday with her gorgeous friend Sophie. It was a marvelous night. The girls were dressed in their finest clothes and looked beautiful, the organisation went seamlessly on the night and at speech time people spoke from the heart.
Both families were the last to leave and after final thank yous and hugs all round we left the venue.
In the car with Rosemary and I were Cassandra and her friend Zac, and the discussion immediately turned to how the night had gone. Conversations about dresses, photos and what people had said, the smooth running of the night and personal stories of congratulations were all told.
Cassandra was very happy and we were especially happy for her.
It was only a short distance from the party venue when we realised that we needed petrol. I had noticed this on the way and knew I would have to get the petrol after the party on the way home. It was not highly desirable but that was just the way circumstances turned out that day.
Before I tell you what happened next, let me first make my excuses.
For some weeks we have been traveling back and forth across the country presenting week-long Parish Missions. They have been wonderful experiences. The weekend of my daughter’s 21st party was right in the middle of a Parish Mission in our home city. I can only describe myself at the moment as ‘tired to my bones.’ It has got to the point where one good night’s sleep won’t help much because I would need many to catch up completely. Nonetheless, however exhausting, the team and I love what God has asked us to do.
OK that is my excuse out of the way. It doesn’t work as an excuse but it is all I have to offer for my stupidity to justify what happened next.
As we left the party someone said, “don’t forget to get petrol.”
Some distance away we found a petrol station and I drove in at around 1.00am and started filling the car. When I had filled it almost completely I was filled with dread and cried out loud, “Oh no.”
I had put nearly a whole tank of unleaded petrol in a car that takes diesel fuel.
A year ago I had done exactly the same thing and had discovered that if I drove it with unleaded fuel that major damage would be done to the engine (according to the mechanic).
I told those in the car and was greeted by “Dad!!!”
Rosemary just looked at me. You know ‘that’ look.
Having done the same thing only relatively recently I knew that that the car would have to be towed away and that it would cost $500 to have it fixed.
All my excuses of great conversation in the car and being tired do not wash. It was my own fault and no excuses are acceptable.
In life we set goals to work at certain areas of our lives. Sometimes situations turn out poorly because of our own mistakes or sometimes because circumstances are out of our control.
The secret to dealing with mistakes is to get up and go again. It would be foolish to say because I have made the same mistake before that I will not drive a car again or not fill up with fuel again. My family, friends and I will live with the risks that I might mess up again.
It is the only way to live. Get up and go again.
God does not give up on you because you make mistakes.
Jesus did not give up on Peter because he deliberately denied Him three times.
What do you need to try again? Go and plan to do it again today.
To my family, next time you are in the car with me don’t say, “The car needs petrol,” say, “The car needs diesel.” I need all the help I can get!