January 16, 2018

Eating Crow

To figure out that you are wrong about something may or may not be a big deal.  When this realization is a private one, it is only your own processing of the information that has to be taken into account.  But when you have to admit to others that you are wrong, the error in judgment, the details, and miscalculations take on a whole different level of internal response. Not only does one have to deal with the outcomes and need for adjustments because of the error, but there is also the added communication that others want to have about something that one would rather not talk about.

All of the thoughts of dread that go with the conversation about the error are not only unwanted, but can be overwhelming because of the multiple times that one repeatedly answers the same or similar questions about the matter. It becomes hard to navigate who is genuinely concerned and who is simply seeking out a juicy bit of information.

To talk about what has happened is part of the healing process. Each individual heals at their own pace, and therefore each individual is ready to talk about their miscalculation with no specific appropriate time frame to be determined as right or wrong by anyone else. Add to this the distinct differences in how men and women process information, respond to information, and need to talk to process information, and you have a variety of ways in which human beings deal with the mistakes that they make in life.

There are times when a person realizes their mistake but refuses to make the necessary adjustments because of pride. In some ways this can seem to others as form of stubbornness.  More often than not, the person who is processing their mistake and what making the needed changes entails wants to do so on their own terms and not the terms of others. This can be very stressful when others want to rush or force the transitions necessary to handle a mistake in one's own life. This will cause the individual to avoid making the necessary decisions because there is a sense that others are pressuring or attempting to orchestrate one's life for them. This pressure adds to the resistance by the individual to do what is necessary because that is a mechanism built into being stubborn in the process.

Theologically, when a person is walking in disobedience to God, not only is there the issue of stubbornness, but there is usually some sort of attempt to negotiate with God.  Negotiation, in many cases is caused by the unwillingness to trust God or to surrender to God's Will.  The mistakes that happen in one's life because of disobedience can be disheartening because the limitations of being human dont allow us to see into the future.  And many times, attempting to negotiate with God can lead us into situations that we could not have possibly seen coming.

On our best day, each of us wants to believe that we are up for any challenge and because of this we can sometimes believe that we can handle situations without realizing that God sees all sides of a situation and we are only able to see what is present before us at any given time.  Our speculations are not guarantees, but we yet have to make life decisions based on the information that we have, and this does not always work out the way that we planned. 

There are other times, when there are warning signs, and even divinely inspired clues that let us know that we should do things differently or make a different decisions but we dont always heed the warning signs. Often times, these warnings and clues come from those closest to us, friends and family.  And this can also become part of the challenge to figure out who is giving genuine insight or divinely inspired insight versus those who are giving advice based on how it will work best for themselves. Each of us usually knows who the self serving individuals are around us, be we can not always be 100% certain in every situation, because trust can sometimes be very fluid.

So when a situation does not go the way that one has planned, and this realization means that it is time to come to terms with the mistake and admit that it didnt work out as planned, this can sometimes be hard to admit.  And this is where the concept of 'Eating Crow' comes into being part of the reality that one must face.  The term comes from the fact that crow is not palatable or good tasting bird. It is said to have a bad smell and taste, and be very hard to digest. Being reduced to eating crow, means putting one's pride to the side.

As I said earlier, it is one thing to admit a mistake to yourself privately, but to admit a mistake to others takes on a whole other level of character building because mistakes rarely happen when or the way that we expect them to, simply because we rarely start anything hoping for a negative outcome, and most times we dont have a completed back up plan, we just make it up and adjust as we go.  So when others start asking questions that one does not want to answer, there is the additional stress of people asking questions that one has not had time to fully process or plan for alternative ways of dealing with the situation.  All of this can be overwhelming.

But this is what redemption is all about. God is always there to receive us and to help us get back on track.  Once we are willing to put our pride aside and acknowledge that we want and need God's guidance, God is faithful.  Even when there is residue from our mistakes on our lives, God is still there welcoming those who come back home.


A young man bought a new boat. He was excited about the boat because he had plans of being a great fisherman.  He was going to take his new boat and the cute little kitten that he had found out to sea for the fishing season. 

Several people around him told him that they thought his boat was fine for staying close to the shore, but would not endure the long season in the deep waters miles away from the shore.  They also told him that the kitten was not a good idea because he would not want to be stuck out at sea with the kitten. 

The young man looked into the kitten's eyes and thought it most adorable and could not image how this kitten could become a problem out at sea.  He thought that he would be able to feed the kitten from his catch of fish and he had visions of both he and the kitten being happy keeping each other company during the fishing season. 

When the day came to begin his time out at sea, the young man happily told his friends that he would be fine, all the while they were still wondering how he was going to make it through the rough waters of the sea in his new boat with the kitten.   As the boat floated a couple of miles away from the shore,  the young man notices a small puddle of water on one end of the boat.  He thought maybe the splashing of a wave had brought some water onto the boat and he thought nothing more about it.   But the next day, there was more water on the boat.  He look around wondering if he had slept through a rain the night before, but took the only thing that he could find, a small cup and scooped out the water, throwing it back into the ocean. 

After a few days, the young man began to notice that the kitten was changing, looking a little different, but still just as adorable. He was occupied most days with catching enough fish to feed the kitten who was seeming to take on a huge appetite with each passing day.  This had left him little time to be attentive to navigating the boat because he spent most of his time constantly removing the water that was seeming to collect in the boat much faster than in the beginning. And the rest of the time he was only catching enough fish to feed the kitten, and some times was not always able to catch enough to feed himself.  This whole process was making him weak and weary.

One day, he looked at the kitten and realized that it had matured into a bobcat. He now understood the warnings that he had been given by his friends and family about taking the kitten along on the journey.  Even though it was clearly a bobcat, when he looked at it what he saw was the memories of what he thought was a cute and harmless kitten. But the nature of the cat had now changed and his interactions with it also had to change. And at the same time, the boat had taken on so much water that it was going to be near to impossible to get all of the water out of the boat. 

Faced with saving himself and the bobcat, the man contemplated what to do, knowing that he would have to decide soon because his life depended on it.   When he looked around to try to decide what his options were, he realized that with all of the time he had been out in the water that he had not navigated but had drifted a few miles from the shore.  Land and safety was still an option.

Having to decide about swimming in the waters and without having eaten much, knowing that his body was weak, he looked caringly  at the bobcat and wondered how would he save both himself and his kitten.  The bobcat was hungry. The boat was taking on water.  He was going to have to decide something.  He was already living with his mistakes, and now he really wanted to get it right. 

As he looked toward the shore, dread come over him. The dread was of coming back on shore, back to land and safety, but having to admit that he had made a mistake.  The thought of admitting his mistake became more important than saving his own life.   His pride was about to consume him.

All those who had warned him were watching from the shore. They had all wanted the best for him, but now they just wanted him to choose to save himself.  Even though he was to far away to hear them, they were all cheering for him, hoping that he would make it back to safety.  But as he look to the shore, the only thing he could think about was having to explain what had happened to him and why he was wrong.  It didnt occur to him that everyone who had warned him was doing so because they had the insight to warn him for a reason and that they cared enough to say something. Their words were not built from negativity, but from care and concern.  All of the warnings had been an attempt to show support and warn him for his own safety.  And this also meant, that they were not as surprised as he thought they would be about how things had turned out for him.

He hesitated. They watched. No one could make the choice for him.

Would the ship sink first or would the bobcat eat him before the ship sank, or would he choose to risk the swim toward shore, back to land, safety, and a welcomed return filled with too many questions?