Sometimes it is a massive flame out, an explosion of such unimaginable intensity that those watching are left both stunned and amazed by it. Such a failure cannot be hidden: it is exposed, on display, a sudden focal point of attention.
Sometimes the moment of failure is quiet.
It happens without warning, in the quiet hours of the morning or night or in the quiet places of the soul. Not one observer from the outside would suspect anything. Such a failure is almost always hidden: it is secret, unattended by anyone except the one who knows it, a silent blot in a black night.
A great many would contend that the public failure is the worser, that failing in the sight of God and everyone is by far the more painful act. I would tend to disagree. The public failure, with all of its accompanying attentions and perhaps even mockeries, at least bears within it the potential for public support and public teaching. Some may benefit from the lesson of failure, while others will reach out with friendly gestures and words.
But the quiet failure will almost always be hidden and suffered alone. There will be no public fanfare, no laughter in the gallery. But neither will there exist the possibility of the lesson or of support. The quiet failure is the one whom, most often, bears their failure in the silence of their souls while functioning in daily.
Most all can survive the public failure Very few can weather the private failure.