Whole Means Healthy After All Else Fails

Thomas Edison was an incredible example of perseverance.  While interviewers wanted to know about his final success, he knew that the key was in the 99 attempts that failed and not in the 1 attempt that succeeded.  What we often miss is how normal it is to have to keep going after 99 failures.  What we maybe miss even more is that we each have a long path of failures before most of our successes. 

We think Edison is the exemption, not the rule.  Yet from my own experience, long before I considered that whole means healthy, I tried a barrage of other things that failed.  I became a real expert on how to fail.  Some ideas failed miserably and some failed gloriously, but in the end they all failed.  At the ripe age of 10, I thought I found the resolution to my spiritual struggles.  Yet at the next struggle, it was ill-equipped to help me.  At age 17, I found resolution again to another struggle.  Yet at the next struggle, it actually made things far worse and drove me into the darkness of depression.   Then at age 23, I again emerged a little more cautious, yet hopeful as I emerged stronger and I was able to defeat depression through lessons from God’s Word.  Yet once again, this resolution was poorly suited to my next struggle.  Still again, I found resolution to another struggle with still more caution and humility.  Yet even with that caution and humility, the next struggle was not resolved by my previous lessons.  I had to learn yet more and more and still fail and fail.   Finally, in 2004, I found a resolution that brought together the lessons of all that I had been taught previously. 

Yet in many ways, I can say that I was perhaps open to this 1 resolution, because I had first failed 99 times.  I think my thinking arises from knowing what it is to try something and see it fail before being willing to seek out a success.  A lot is learned the hard way.  Only after that, does 1 idea come the easy way. 

I consider that one of the greatest applications of what I have learned from wholeness is that Edison was right and the interviewer wrong.  This world is not a place where everyone is seeking success and just needs to find it.  Rather people often have to fail at something else before they will accept a successful option.  As long as they see something as potentially successful, even if everyone else knows it will fail, they will hold onto that bound to fail option. 

Again, I see this with my own strength or my physical health.   I have tried many many options to bring my physical health to where it should be.  Yet I still have an unresolved difficulty.  A resolution came in 2003 for 6 months, yet neither I nor my doctors to this date, understand what made the difference.  So I am still trying options that might potentially work.  Like Edison, yet under the inspiration of the hope that God inspires, I am marching on toward what I hope will resolve my health issue for the long term. 

Yet it is often a long and lonely path.  It seems that so many things I have tried, that I thought would work or a doctor thought would work, have failed.  It is also true that the path is lonely, because there are many naysayers that claim to know the answer already.  They perhaps think that 99 attempts must mean I am on the wrong path.  Yet there lurks the danger for them. 

Yet I now know this.  Wholeness has brought many successes that were not previously there.  It has also continued to meet new challenges the previous failures did not.  I think Thomas Kuhn, the sociologist of science, and Imre Lakatos, the philospher of science, both had it right.  Old ideas die hard.  They must fail before we give up on them.  That sounds sort of biblical doesn’t it, in light of our sinful tendencies.  

Perhaps failure is the soil that then the plant of success can grow in.  It is as though the seed cannot be planted until the ground is well tilled.  So when people still resist an idea, perhaps it is true, they are still working on a failure.  Just wait until they realize the failure.  Just maybe then, they will accept the one thing that succeeds after all else fails. 

In Christ,

Jon

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