It's simple. I checked, rechecked, and re-rechecked the contest data, to be Absolutely Certain I hadn't made a mistake. Because, yanno, I made a mistake in the first round of adult submissions, and I didn't want history to repeat itself.
Then history repeated itself.
Basically, I forgot to email Michael to let him know the contest was set up, so that he could add the fee bit. It's the only part I can't do myself (the auction is the only thing with a fee, so it's not a normal part of my contest-setting-upping). So the submissions started rolling in at an alarming rate, and I realized in a flash that they were posting immediately.
And then I realized why. (This moment of my life is utterly indescribable.)
So I shut down the contest, tweeted seven hundred times, and posted an alert on the blog. Long story short: I moved the contest times and Michael saved the day.
But here's what really happened yesterday:
I learned that, despite years of personal growth, I still have a long way to go in the GIVING MYSELF GRACE department. As in, I died about twelve times yesterday because I had screwed up. And it had affected people all over the globe. People who had stayed up late to enter the contest. People who had to leave for work. People who were excited and nervous and ready to follow the rules.
I couldn't handle the letting people down part. It felt like a personal Armageddon.
And then I discovered that, while I was drowning in self-loathing, the people I had let down were POURING GRACE OVER ME LIKE A WATERFALL. Giving me what I couldn't give myself.
Nobody bashed me. Nobody yelled at me. Nobody called me an irresponsible, fluff-brained toad.
By the end of the day, I felt absolutely adored. Forgiven. Supported without a moment of oops-I-think-they're-going-to-drop-me-now.
If I said "thank you" a thousand different ways, it wouldn't express my level of gratitude.
And now I'm imagining a world that reflects what happened here yesterday--a world in which it's okay to mess up. In which patience and gentleness prevail. In which nobody holds a grudge when someone lets him down.
And, yeah. In which I regularly receive donations labeled "chocolate." I mean, seriously! My grin was so wide it hurt. And I needed some grins like that yesterday.
It took a submission fiasco to show me I still have a way to go in learning to forgive myself when I'm not perfect. Which is, um, every day. You were all a part of God's gentle whisper to my heart: "Stop being so hard on yourself when you mess up."
Okay. Got that. I may need to print out this post and re-read my own words for the next year or so, but I've definitely gotten the message. "Authoress doesn't have to be perfect." Check.
I've officially run out of words to tell you how amazing you are.