Each time I volunteer in Katie's first grade class, it strikes me how often little kids use the erasers on their pencils. By the time they finish their first opening sentence during creative writing, their desks are covered with little rubber shards from their erasers, which get swept on the floor and make a mess. Some pencils are completely flat on top, with no visible eraser left. These kids have made so many mistakes that they have no eraser left.
After my volunteer time was over this week, I walked away thinking how my life's "eraser" is still pretty pink and definitely not very short. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to say I am perfect and don't make mistakes. On the contrary! Maybe my eraser is still pink and pretty because I am not getting out of my box often enough to even try anything new. Therefore, I'm not messing up too often. If I stick with what I know and keep doing what feels comfortable, then it's pretty easy to get it down pat. Right? But when I step into the unknown and have no clue what I'm doing, the eraser gets lots of use. I write and color outside the lines. I make mistakes and I correct them.
On Wednesday, I was talking to another mom I know about making mistakes. She thought she messed up on parenting her kids, and emailed me about it. I told her not to sweat it and that I've learned a big part of motherhood is making mistakes and learning from them. Then again, isn't ALL of life that way? We just do the best we can with what we have, and pray that it can be redeemed into something significant. It's trial and error and as soon as you find your footing, you get another curve ball that throws you off balance. I told her we'll make it through, we just have to lean on others for support.
The question is: do I want to live my life in such a way that my eraser is hardly used? Or do I want to continue learning and growing and, inevitably, making mistakes which will need erasing and correcting? I think God put us here to make mistakes and learn and grow from them. It's why we have a memory, so we can learn and move on.
I don't want to live my life in the same rut, doing the same routine over and over. I want to keep learning, keep stretching my soul, and I want to use my darn eraser. I know there will little rubber shards to clean up when I'm done, but I know that in advance so I'm prepared to forgive the mess I'm going to make.