Hammock, a mistake


Hammock, oops.

I ordered a hammock, letting Jane pick out the color. The Friday it arrived, I installed it between the dogwood tree and the fireplace.

It was lovely.
Then Jane showed up.
She stood next to me and said, “I’d like a turn.”

I don’t know how I ordered a hammock, installed a hammock, and never considered anyone besides me would use the hammock. I just didn’t; it was a non-thought. I didn’t think that someone else would use my hammock.

Later, the kids climbed into the hammock with me, and I quickly acclimated to the idea that I would be sharing the hammock.

The rest of Friday, I laughed to myself that there was something so obvious, so smack in front of me, and yet I didn’t even consider it.

This reminds me of when I taught math in high schools, and I would find myself wanting to berate a student, “Why did you drop the negative sign on the fourth step of the equation?”

The only response would have been, “What are you yelling at me for? I forgot the negative sign because I forgot the negative sign. I wasn’t trying to cause you constermation, Mr. Math.”

These are what mistakes are. Mistakes are when we don’t realize something. Catherine Schultz will ask a group of adults: “What’s it feel like when you make a mistake?”

Usually, they’ll say, “Oh, it feels terrible. It feels embarrassing.”

She then points out that they actually answered the question, “what does it feel like when you realize you made a mistake?” Because what does it feel like when you make a mistake? It feels normal.

Because you didn’t realize you dropped the negative sign.
Because you didn’t realize that you lived in a family, and they’re gonna wanna use the hammock.

Because you just didn’t think of it.

This line of thinking opens up our compassion.


Compassion for ourselves that we didn’t do anything wrong; we just made a mistake.

We just made a mistake.

I’m going to challenge you to realize that those people in your life who did that thing to you or didn’t consider your feelings when they did whatever may have just made a mistake. It wasn’t even a lapse of judgement. It was just a non-thought. They didn’t think, like me I didn’t think about the fact that my children and my wife and the neighbors would wanna use my hammock.

My deepest hope and wish for all of us is that we’re forgiving to ourselves and to each other.

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