If at first you don’t succeed fail and fail again. Learn to fail very well and at last you will succeed. It’s unavoidable.

Nobody can fail all the time, although you can certainly go on quite the streak, and nobody can succeed all the time. This means that the ups and downs of life. That success is something very mysterious and intangible.

What is success anyway? Who defines it and says it is so when it it so?

Success looks different to many people and it may even appear to look like utter failure on occasion. How are we to know what to do in such circumstances order to become who we wish to be and have what we desire?

It’s not easy. Nothing about living well is easy but I think there is something very tangible we can do which will help us in such moments. We have to learn to get up.

Getting up is not easy. Going, when our legs have been taken from beneath us is painful and disorienting, but we have to get up and keep going. Getting up. Standing up. Rising above our mistakes is what at the core all the religions hold dear.

It’s tragic that the very thing that holds the mysteries of the universe and brings us closer to becoming truly human and being fully alive, is the very thing that makes us act viciously and thoughtlessly towards one another.

Religion is like a knife. It cuts things that needs cutting. It is a tool ever present at all great meals, and at the same time it is capable of taking a human life and of much blood shed.

When we fall, we are given a knife. A metaphysical knife, like the one Macbeth saw that was summoning him to Duncan’s chamber. It is not an evil knife, but one that will either cut and remove our being from our mistakes, or a knife we will use to stab our soul and regress into a horrible place we will later wish we never entered.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Fail and fail again. Most of all, stand up, rise up, never lay down. Never.

If you are wondering where all this philosophical thought is coming from, it is coming from the senseless slaughter recently of some three hundred people in Sri Lanka.

It is a place I have never visited. A place I almost never think about. Yet yesterday, I was thinking about my own life and the lives of the people in Sri Lanka. I am not going to get absorbed in the story. The world is going to move on to the next crisis anyway. Back to some Donald Trump story, I’m sure. But for the moment I think Sri Lanka can teach us very much about what it means to be human and how precious our life is.

Sadly we take our life for granted, until it is suddenly shaken awake from tragedy and acts of terrorism. But this is not a time to lay down and hate. This is not a time to point fingers and say I told you so. This is not a time to get scared and forget our humanity.

If at first you don’t succeed. If you cannot love the ones who hate you, try and try again. Fail and fail again. Our humanity depends on it. Our lives will be much richer if we always rise above hate.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer Jens Johnsson.