On being human

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I recently experienced a situation that left me feeling unprepared which then led to me feeling flawed and humbled.

The eternal optimist inside me has a “can do” attitude and usually thinks of every scenario so I am fully prepared for what may be coming my way.  I generally don’t like to be blindsided. What I realized is that I can’t be prepared for every scenario. This time I flat didn’t know what I was doing and it left me feeling exposed. Ouch, I thought I had done the research!

I headed to NYC Friday to have a meeting that I had pinned a lot of hopes on.  Even though I had thought things through, I still knew deep down that there where some missing puzzles pieces to what I was attempting to do.

What I did not realize was that I was missing was big gigantic, big picture part of the puzzle.  Oops! As I sat a bit shocked in my meeting, what happened next was a mix of God’s grace and my humanity.

The man I was meeting with did not seem remotely affected by my gaff as he patiently took his time to explain to me what I needed to know. As I apologized, he said he in his broken English, “No, I teach you.”  Gracious. 

When I walked out my brain was mush. I was second guessing myself. I was embarrassed and frustrated. My “soft type A” personality  wanted to crawl into a corner and lick my wounds. How could I have been so naive?

Fortunately, I was meeting some friends who took me to Serendipity to eat some ice cream! A girl might as well lick her wounds with some sugar! And no, I did not eat this alone!

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My mind was spinning, was what I was setting out to do was simply too complicated? I am a BIG vision person and when the details bite me in the butt, it stops me dead in my tracks. I asked myself if I should press forward or leave this idea on the table. Questioning one part of my  “passion plan” made me question the rest of what I was doing…let’s just say I was about to jump into the rabbit hole of sadness!

Once I got back home, I felt a sense of peace at the comedy of it all.   I again realized just how human life can make you feel, that along with all the good human emotions, love, joy, excitement that you get to experience there is no escaping the raw ones of embarrassment, frustration, sorrow, vulnerability. 

When I understand that I am human with an array of inescapable emotions is when I experience God the most. That’s where the peace and comedy come in (I live in a space where God not only loves me, we laugh a lot too!) I realize that it is His grace and mercy that have gotten me this far.

I am reminded that following passions,  dreams, goals whatever you call them, is not going to be without some human drama or what we often consider “bad” emotions. You know, the emotions that leave us asking, “Why did that just happen?” I remember that they are not bad emotions, they are simply  emotions and part of being alive. 

This glimpse at my humanity forces me to wonder if I am as patient and gracious to the people I meet with as I need to be. It reminds  me of the many times that God has seen me through other situations. 

It leaves me in awe instead of crushed as I lean on Him.

Embracing my entire human experience makes me less afraid and less vulnerable. It makes me feel alive in an honest way. It begs me to respond to myself with love because that is how God is continuously responding to me.

Have you been reminded of your own humanity lately? My guess is that if you are breathing you have been! Tell me what you think and how you picked yourself up!


  • Michelle Schneider

    For sure! I feel this all the time as I struggle to catch my technique and drawing ability up to my dreams. It constantly feels like there’s a gap I have to overcome each day to get my ideas down on paper in the way I had envisioned. Humbling? uhhh yeah. Big time. I just have to keep reminding myself to practice, practice, practice, and STOP- for the love of Pete- comparing myself to others.

    • OH MY GOODNESS, Michelle! When I rabbit holed, I managed to dig that very emotion up too! Thanks for sharing that!

  • Kell

    Really enjoyed this post because you sound exactly like me – though I admit I am probably not as forgiving of myself as you are are. I’ve had a few situations in my working life where I completely missed key information — truly “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Where the ultimate end game goal is so glorious in our thoughts, dreams and “plans” — you miss what is right in front of you and what can totally wreck the entire experience. From now on, if this happens again (what are the odds?? LOL), I bet I will look at it with a lot more forgiveness on my part – TO myself – and maybe get some insight…

    • Oh yes, the old forest got me. As far as forgiving myself, I have learned to do that more quickly. Wallowing and beating myself up in the past has not served me well! While laughing, shrugging and dusting myself off and being gracious with myself is more effective!

  • Madam Universe, God … someone was up to their usual magic today because I SO needed to hear this post/experience today Monica, & to be reminded of the “human experience” we all are feeling. That along with feeling all the emotions we’ve labeled “good”, we must also expect those that we will feel those we’ve labeled “bad”. One of my favourites quotes I repeat to myself when I’ve fallen down that rabbit hole, or deep abyss follows – & when you think about this sentence it’s so very true. How many experiences that initially feel awful, in the end have a bright & shiny silver lining. Thanks brave girl for sharing this experience 😉

    “Everything always works out in the end … if it hasn’t worked out it isn’t the end”

    • I love that quote and you are so right! It isn’t the end!! That’s what makes it humorous. It reminded me that even though I think I am all grown up, I still get skinned knees every now and then. The best part is-I know where the band aids are!

    • BJ Lantz

      That is my favorite line from “The Splendid Marigold Hotel” and I remind myself (and my hubby) of it all the time!

      • Thanks BJ for reminding me of that quotations origin …
        I’d forgotten where it came from. I so love it + it’s so very true !!

  • Your have no idea how your experience has hit home. I’m excited but still feel as if I’m in the rabbit hole. I succeeded in selling an idea to someone huge and now frozen where to begin. I’m going with Susan Black’s positive sentence, I’m going to have a bright & shiney silver lining and it will be huge for Pushing-Papers.

    • No freezing Bee!!!

      • Thanks Monica, you are an inspiration and I’m an avid fan of yours.

  • Nicky Ovitt

    Oh. My. Excellent story to start off my week. Thank you for your honesty, insight and humility, Monica! You had me at *important meeting in NYC*— talk about putting on your big girl shorts! My upending moment happened when a freelance job recently “went south” on me— something I had taken just to fill in the money/time gaps in my regular work. I told the account manager that it was not my expertise but I was willing to do it. My brain said; this will be a stretch for you and you have not had good experiences with those kinds of clients in the past but you need to get some work in the hopper. I was ignoring my gut that was saying; don’t do it. The project ended up in an unpredictable loop I was not happy with. Then after a frustrating phonecall, I was reduced to tears and it made me question my skills and role in the entire thing, I felt so hurt. But basically, I too was unprepared, if only in a different way. These stories help. Thanks for all you make me think about, SCW!

    • Haha! My big girl pants! Oh yes! That made me laugh! Thanks Nicky!

  • Kari O

    Monica, I love that you shared this. A lesser person would only share the “good stuff.” To me, this is some of the “good stuff.” I think you have such a devoted following because in all of your knowledge and experience and wisdom in the creative realm, you have a sweet, humble side that makes you so much like everyone else. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that about you! That’s why I keep coming back here for encouragement and good content. You’re one of us….just trying to use your God given talents and skills as best you can. God is using you in ways that, perhaps, you hadn’t even planned. Thanks for baring your soul and showing us that we’re allll normal. We all “scrap our knees” and we’re all in this together. Hugs to you…thanks so much!

    • Yes Kari, I would say God is using me in a way I had not planned! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement!

  • Kathy Weller

    Hey Monica! YES, I am with you, I am constantly reminded of my own “humanity” LOL! We have all been there! Some of us are there a LOT! I have to admit that, for me, especially this year, “setbacks” have been a force to drive me to create new opportunites. They are challenges and they are fresh clay for our own personal molding! Regarding the word “failure”, I feel like, if you haven’t given up, you can’t say you failed. Though I must say that I do not see the word “Failure” as a negative. Failure is progress. Failure is only really “failure” if its companion is “giving up”! If you stop, get shell-shocked, recalibrate and reassess what you are doing in order to get to point B, it is ALL GOOD in the HOOD. 😀 😀

    I absolutely LOVE your meeting companions kindness, enthusiasm, spirit and generosity too. What a wonderful catalyst! 🙂

    HUGS!!! XXOO

  • Love it when folks share true thoughts, even if vulnerable, because it sort of brings me back down to Earth. Often we see people only sharing their wins but all the stuff in between might be missing from the picture… the reality… the humanity of it all. Perhaps that is why people always want things to happen faster, because they are not realizing there is so much in between that we often don’t see. Thanks for sharing and reminding me… thank you!

    • Faster, faster…that is how our brains work! Often we miss the “in between” part of peoples journey!

  • Amber Savage

    This was such a beautiful and honest post Monica. Isn’t it amazing that God turned your disappointment into a learning experience that has touched so many! Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site! I love visiting every week!!

  • Melissa AuClair

    I ate up this post Monica! Thank you for sharing something so personal; I too needed the reminder that God lavishes his grace and mercy on us.