My most embarrassing moment.
Fail = A lack of success.
Epic Fail = A spectacularly embarrassing or humorous mistake, humiliating situation, etc., that is subject to ridicule and given a greatly exaggerated importance.
Last week a young woman in Georgia became famous (for all the wrong reasons) when she drove her graduation gift, a shiny red BMW, axle-deep into wet cement. The road crew said she ignored orange cones and barricades. She claimed the construction zone had no warning signs. You see what's coming, right? When the authorities were called, a debate ensued about who was at fault. Her lawyer advised her not to sign the towing company's waiver. And the wet cement did what it's designed to do—it got dry. In the end, workers had to jackhammer and remove the entire block of pavement, including the car, and load it onto a flat bed truck. Imagine explaining THAT to your parents.
JAN: I'm about to share about an epic failure and my most embarrassing moment, so let's get it over with. A few years ago, we stayed in a host home during a business trip. The guest room had white carpet. My pedicure (red) needed a touch-up. I was sitting there minding my own business when the nail polish bottle suddenly flew off the table (an earthquake? a ghost?) and did a triple gainer onto the floor. In slow motion. After a brief moment of paralysis, I did what any rational adult would do. I threw a magazine over the spreading puddle to hide it. Then I locked myself in the bathroom.
SUSAN: Time is an interesting thing. Timing is even more interesting. The time mattered because our hosts (a precious elderly couple) prepared an amazing breakfast each morning so that we could be on our way to work. The timing mattered because our work has always been in tandem. A partnership. Appearing at the breakfast table alone would provoke the very question Jan was trying her best to avoid: “Good morning, where’s Jan?” In every sense, she wanted to travel through time and vanish. Jan: cautious, careful, thoughtful, prepared—was in the worst place she could imagine. Ok, well, the bathroom wasn’t horrible, but, you know. I summoned my best voice of reason: “Jan, you cannot stay in the bathroom all day. Open the door.” Nothing. “Can we just talk this through and think about a solution?” Silence. Then a shaky, but determined reply: “I’m not going to breakfast and I’m not going to talk to them. I’m going to find a carpet-replacement-business-and-call-them-and-get-them-to-come-here-and-replace-the-carpet-and-no-one-will-ever-know-this-happened.” Yo boy.
JAN: I'd like to say I came to my senses, went down to breakfast and faced the music. Nope. I sneaked out the front door and hid in the car while Susan went back to explain to our hosts. By this time, my embarrassment was less about the carpet mishap and more about my response. I was gutted. Devastated. And utterly, completely humiliated. I went to work with a very heavy heart.
SUSAN: I'm happy to say this story has an amazing ending. So let's get to THAT part. We're at work, and our host (the elderly gentleman who just the night before had shared his incredibly powerful WW2 story of driving a jeep onto the beach in Normandy, June 6, 1944) slowly walks in with a plate of fruit and homemade muffins, finds Jan, and says: "You left without eating your breakfast." He grabbed her hand and looked into her eyes: "It's just carpet. I don't want you to ever think about it again."
JAN: In fact, I have thought about it many, many times—but now I think about it very differently. God taught me a wonderful lesson that day. About me. About mistakes. And mostly, about forgiveness and grace. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe choose clear polish).