“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

— Truman Capote

Everyone strives for success.  It is only human to want to rise to the highest height we are able to reach.  After all, the view from the top of the mountain sure beats the one from the bottom of the trail.  I have never been afflicted with perfection, so it is hard for me to imagine that having things just fall into place, again and again, would take something away from savoring the result.  On the other hand, I have climbed enough mountains to know that the view from the top always includes a retrospective look at the places on the trail where I tripped and fell and needed to solve a problem before moving on.

Perhaps my view is colored by the fact that I am one who stumbles.  Perhaps the skinned knees that heal along the way leave just enough scar at the end of the climb to take me back to the moment of failure that required me to stretch beyond my limitations and grow toward new achievements that once seemed beyond my reach.  Perhaps the memory of the pain along the way makes the arrival seem even sweeter than it would have been if I had taken the paved road to the same destination.

Fries love ketchup.  Hot dogs love mustard.  Salad loves dressing.  Success loves failure — or better still, success loves overcoming failure.  It is not the skinned knee that makes the trip to the summit worthwhile.  It is the healing of the skinned knee and the overcoming of the limits we place on our own success.

I have never been afflicted with perfection, and my life is filled with mountains waiting to be climbed.  There will be snags and there will be scrapes on my knees from time to time; but I know that when I reach the top of the trail, my scars will show me again and again that falling down is not the end.  It is the getting up that makes the summit such a sweet place to be.