The success of failure

There is no greater happiness and fulfillment than a life lived with meaning

I have been somewhat scattered for some time, with little space to sit down and write. Immersed in a time of professional changes and new projects that necessarily entail dedicating time to prudently discern what suddenly happens, without having been called, and to the actual reorganization of day-to-day life.

And life puts us in front of unexpected situations that move our chairs. Yes, that chair or armchair, in my case, that I like so much, and in which I feel very comfortable.

An event, a call to do something in a moment, which usually happens, is not the one I would have chosen.

The unexpected, the unforeseen… what would life be if we couldn’t expect the unexpected? That hope that makes us open with confidence to something that we do not know but that at the same time we know is worth it, leads us to a goal, with a direction: the fullness of an encounter for which we were born. That hope that makes us live waiting in amazement of what happens, along with the restlessness caused by the loss of control that we like so much. To me especially…

Well, in these days of change, in the dance between excitement and uncertainty; in the face of that tension between prudent discernment and the indecision of not controlling everything; Immersed in that dialogue between the comfort of the known world and the discomfort of entering something new… I thought about the cathedrals and the people who worked to build them.

I tried to put me in their situation and asked me how they embarked on that mission. What moved them to do that work? How did they decide if they knew that they were not going to see the fruits?

And when it comes to changes, the first thing I look at is the possible fruits. That palpable result that can tip the scales to the right or left side. Does it happen to you?

I guess so. It is our rational part in its purest form linked to the fact that we are children of our time and what, precisely, surrounds us is that practical and utilitarian vision of our actions. All this together with the immediacy and speed in which we live.

However, these people worked on something whose fruits they knew they would not see. A sculpture, a stained-glass window, a gargoyle, an altarpiece… one stone, two, three… they didn’t care. They knew that they were working on something very big for Someone very big, and that their grain of sand was just that, a grain of sand. They knew how to live from being a link in a long chain, where the important thing was not them.

Likewise, they had a goal, a hope and a purpose that gave meaning to a job, even a lifetime’s work, whose fruits future generations would see and not them. And I wondered if maybe they weren’t looking for success.

Of course, they were looking for it, but I think the issue transcends beyond: what they understood by being successful.

In a world like the present, in which we are super dependent on liking and liking our posts and photos. Attentive to this applause and recognition from our fellow human beings, working to build a cathedral is unthinkable.

But if you put your success in a reason that transcends you and in that mission of your life that gives meaning to everything, that worldly applause begins to matter to you, and you change those “likes” on social networks for the likes of the soul.

I was thinking about it, thinking about the concept of success that I wanted to have in my life, and I realized that I wanted these last likes. Those that do not depend on you and your perfection (which will never come, on the other hand). Those who have that perfect imperfection and the heroism of leading their own life. Of a life where vulnerability and limits have their place and are welcomed, and of a life where there is no me without a you.

Why? Because there is no greater happiness and fulfillment than a life lived with meaning. Where your stone, your capital, column or grain of clay are part of a body that needs you. And where you put those gifts or talents that you have received at the service of the construction of something that transcends you and of fruits that you may not be lucky enough to see. Where you, being immensely valuable and loved, are not what is important.

Someone who knows a lot already told us a long time ago that the grain of wheat bears fruit when it falls to the ground and dies. So what is success, if not knowing how to die to yourself?

For society and with the eyes of the material world, this is easily synonymous with failure, but I end with another question: Who do you live for? For what?