Meaning in the Failures

By Rachel Hinz

This New Year’s Eve, hours away from 2020, I was thinking about a painting that hangs in my house. It’s called, “Sketch for Deathbed.”

I never finished it. Early in the painting process, I realized I needed to switch mediums and change it completely. In other words, I didn’t like this painting. It didn’t do what I intended and looked nothing like I had hoped. For every practical purpose, it was a failure.

But I held onto “Sketch for Deathbed.” In fact, I even hung it up in my house, because “Deathbed,” the painting that resulted from this course correction, I did complete. And I loved it. And I sold it to someone else who now has “Deathbed” hanging in their house.

“Sketch for Deathbed” still hangs on a wall in our home. Not on the most prominent wall in the house; but it’s also not hidden away in a closet somewhere, either. Consequently, every once in a while a curious guest will ask me about it and I launch into an awkward explanation of this failed attempt on display for all to see.

Still, I keep that painting visible because of what happens inside of me when I happen to pass by.  Whenever I see that sketch I am reminded of the finished painting and thankful that, even though it didn’t turn out as I had imagined, it helped get me where I needed to go.

Starting a new year, a new decade, and a new chapter, I can’t help but think of that failed painting and the hope it gives me.

There is meaning in the journey; even in the failures. Turn the failures into works of art.

Editor’s Note: Rachel is a mom, wife, artist, and follower of Jesus living in the St. Louis area. You can see some more of her art at .

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