I overheard a proverb in testimony meeting today that really sank in. The last person to bear testimony said this: “My best teacher is my last mistake.”
Those words settled on me like warm rain, and I’ve been soaking wet all afternoon.
I don’t like my mistakes. So why do I invent new ones every day, against my will?
Every single day.
I’m embarrassed by my mistakes, and bone weary of them. I wish I wasn’t such an expert at making them. When I suddenly remember mistakes from childhood, from my teenage years, or from last week, I turn a bright, hot red.
As I get older, though, I realize that each mistake I’ve made, each error in judgment, is a gift. Regret, properly applied, can be a healing balm.
The great plan of happiness allows for us to make mistakes (Alma 42:8.) Without sin, pain, sorrow, and opposition, there would be no purity, health, happiness, or strength. Without contrast, there is no perception. If we were faultless, coddled, and comfortable at every turn, we would be blobs of humanity, unable to comfort or strengthen others, unfit for celestial company.
So I welcome my mistakes. I still don’t like them or plan them out or wish for them, but I accept calmly that I will make them, no matter how hard I try not to. Personal mistakes are a path to pain, but that pain can teach us how to avoid the same trauma again, how to not repeat them. I am grateful for those lessons. Isn’t that the point?
Thank you, whoever you are, for your seven enlightening words. It would be a mistake for me to forget them.