Failing with Grace

Oh my. I have never been so interested in the lead up to an election in another country as I have in recent weeks with the presidential campaign for the United States of America. I, along with so many of my friends, have been regularly checking the websites for the latest information and vote count statistics.

I want to be quite frank here. This is not a piece regarding any kind of political preference on my part. As an Australian I don’t believe I have much, if any, right to have an opinion about which political party is more worthy in another country. What I have observed, however, is that American people I hold in high regard from a variety of professions – actors, academics, artists, leaders – are united in their belief that the current president has not demonstrated good character in a broad spread of situations.

I was disappointed, as I always am, to witness caustic personal attacks instead of a presentation of policies and platforms. I have sat dumbfounded to watch things said and done, fully aware of the power of the media to skew what is reported. My stance is, however, that even if only 20% of it is true it is not behaviour you desire of the leader of your country.

The thing I have noticed in the last few days while the outcome of the US election was hanging in the balance is the inability for Donald Trump to speak about losing. There has been no concession speech. I doubt there could be. He seems physically unable to speak the words that acknowledge he has lost. He can’t seem to say the words in reference to himself. He has been using phrases like stolen, cheating, corruption while trying to declare that he has actually won the election, despite what all the numbers are saying.

From an external observer I can’t help but feel this is very much the appearance of a tantrum that all poor losers engage in. I have witnessed countless sports events where supporters of the losing team have blamed all manner of external influences for the outcome. I can accept that sometimes there are some things that can have an impact, but ultimately the loser needs to recognise the fact that at that time, on that day, they were not enough to be victorious. It is all too easy to lay blame on everyone and everything like a sprinkler turned up to the maximum.

But here is a lesson to learn. Just because you say something, it doesn’t make it true. None of us likes to lose, but there are many lessons to learn in loss that you never get to understand and appreciate if you only ever succeed. Being willing to assess, reflect, understand and value gives great opportunity to become wiser in many avenues of life. Without this exposure and acceptance of loss you can only ever hope to develop into a shadow of a well-rounded individual, which is what we are currently witnessing in the seats of power on the world stage.

As I’ve reflected on what I am seeing I am just going to leave some verses from the Bible that I believe have some relevance to consider. These are from the compilation of wise sayings from Proverbs 11:1-3. “The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favour with him. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”

Keep an eye out for opportunities to gain wisdom through demonstrating grace in your own failures. I am committing to do so as well.

Be blessed.

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