A huge salad failure, or a failure reframing moment?

Eight carefully selected avocados rested on the counter top; their only task was to ripen to perfection over the next twenty-four-hour period.  The eggs were dancing in the boiling water on the stove top as I raced back and forth from the i-pad to the countertop with frequent stops at the fridge.  The recipe was special.  It met all the guidelines for Doug's cancer fighting diet and I had been assigned salad duty for the next family dinner.  The recipe was named Stuffed Avodacos, not very creative but an honest representation of what I anticipated the final product would look and taste like.

I was working a day ahead of the big dinner. Everything seemed to be going well.  Timelines were okay.  All the ingredients were handy.  I was quite proud of myself.  When we mention salads, it usually means something with leaves.  In my mind a salad with leaves would be what everyone expected and God help me if I ever started doing what was expected.  If that happened my long-suffering spouse would know it was time to check me in for some serious psychiatric evaluation.  Typically, I revolt against the expected and the boring.  And my Stuffed Avocados were going to be just another act of rebellion.
The stuffing was an egg salad mixture with lime juice and cayenne pepper plus a long list of other ingredients.  I figured it would bite a bit and be slightly different.  We succeeded in mixing the egg salad part and tucked it away in the fridge.  I packaged it in a container with a tight lid so the whole fridge didn't stink like egg salad.  Sunday afternoon arrived, the fridge smelled normal and it was time to round up the fixings to take to the dinner.

I grabbed the bag of avocados, the platter, and the special lime hot sauce.  Greg rounded up some wine and a treat for Kanti, and we set out for dinner.  You need to understand that our extended family really enjoys food.  The little people have adventurous palates just like the big people.  New recipes are traded frequently and when I am asked to bring a dish I put quite a bit of effort into it.  So, I was gutted when I realized five minutes after arriving at our destination, that I had forgotten the egg salad mixture in the fridge.  It was safely at home, twenty kilometres away.  Enough egg salad to feed sixteen people was sitting in the fridge of a home where two people lived and I was responsible for producing a salad for the family dinner armed with sixteen avocados, a very nice plate, and some hot sauce.

Gutted, that's how I felt - like a great big, huge failure with all the Trumpism emphasis on great and huge. I was just waiting for someone to say, "You're fired."

A Visitor to the Swake
We pivoted and we hustled.  Everyone had something to say about how the situation could be redeemed.  There was not even a hint of judgement.  What had started out as my attempt to bring an unusual salad item, turned into a family problem-solving, creativity generating, exercise.  It was also an exercise in generosity and encouragement.  Believe me, I was remembering Lisa Genova'sStill Alice, as I chided myself for forgetting the key ingredients.  I was doing some serious psychological self-flagellation and at the same time wondering if I had early onset dementia. Talk about a fear overload.

Would my family still love me?  Would they stop asking me to bringing food to family dinners?  Was I losing my mind?  Those were my not very creative, but honest fears.  As my mind was whirling, we foraged through the fridge.  We found cherry tomatoes, we chopped the avocados into chunks, and we drizzled them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Voila, in a pretty glass bowl we had a nice looking and great tasting honest salad. The stuffed avocado salad got renovated into something entirely different and the failure faded.

We will all fail sometime.  Failure is normal.  If you are not failing now and then, you aren't living dangerously enough.  We will fail at relationships, jobs, parenting, you name it.  We will fail at something at some point.  Remember that the failure is only a point in time.  The true living is in the recovery.  It is in the hustle, the pivoting, the problem-solving and the creativity, of the work of restoration, renovation, or renewal.  What do you need to reframe?  Is there something you have internalized as a fail that you can reframe as a work of restoration, renovation or renewal? The power to reframe failure is our own.