Painful Past

The Shame Of Past Failures

The first few seconds of this video are painful to watch. A baby giraffe is attempting to walk. Its legs are weak. It struggles to gain balance while trying to lift its oblong body up off the ground with four toothpick-skinny legs. Straightening its knees seems to be difficult. On the first attempt in this video, the giraffe’s body slams backwards against the barn wall. It wobbles forward toward its mother, sliding and slipping along the way. It stands there, shaking, leaning against its mother for steadiness.

After about thirty seconds, the mother giraffe offers a gesture of encouragement by wrapping her front right leg around the baby giraffe’s body. In what appears to be a giraffe hug, the baby experiences reassurance. After another ten seconds or so, the mother lets go. The baby giraffe falls flat on its face as its legs give out beneath it. It lies on the ground defeated. What happens next? I don’t know. The YouTube video ends. I imagine that the baby giraffe continues to attempt this process until it is strong enough to stand on its own four feet.

Like this baby giraffe, your past does not equal your future. Imagine if the baby giraffe decided that standing up was too hard. It felt that trying again would be more painful and so decided to give up and never attempt to stand again. What if the baby giraffe chose to remain on the ground, crying and feeling sorry for itself? It’s silly, right? Of course the baby giraffe is going to keep trying to stand. Eventually the baby is going to be standing on its own, walking around, finding food, and reaching as tall as its mother. We all know that is the logical way things are accomplished. We know without a single doubt that if the baby giraffe gives up, it will never walk. It will perish. The mother will need to move on, protecting her own life.

Now, find an area in your life where you are the baby giraffe attempting to walk for the first time. Notice how the first bang against the barn wall taught you that you have to straighten your legs in unison, or you’ll loose balance. See how the mother helping the baby, showed that the world does care, and others do want to help. Pay attention to how the mother can’t always hold the baby up. The baby will need to be able to stand on its own. The mother is still there, protecting and encouraging the baby. It is not abandoned. Yes, the baby giraffe falls down to the ground, flat on its face. Shameful as that may be, that is not an excuse for the giraffe to stop trying. The best thing that that baby giraffe (or anyone) can do is to keep moving forward. Now, what was that thing in your life that is like a baby giraffe taking his first steps?

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