In the past three weeks I have fallen twice. By fallen I mean I have slipped on ice, my feet have come out from underneath me, and I have landed flat on my butt, hitting everything in my path on the way down. I have never been described as graceful and, trust me, falling is no different. I’m usually pretty steady on my feet, certainly not graceful but steady, so falling is usually quite shocking to me, especially when I experience two occurrences happening fairly close together time-wise.
(image from shutterstock.com)
My most recent fall, just this morning actually, resulted in some choice words and tears and led, as well, to two bruised legs, a bruised arm, and a sore neck. (I see a visit with my chiropractor in the very near future, as well.) Despite the bumps and bruises, aches and pains, ‘falling’ has directed my train of thought for this week’s blog post: without a moment’s notice, our world can completely slip out from underneath us and knock us off our feet.
Quite literally we can find ourselves falling flat on our faces at times in our lives. Perhaps we fall, slip, or are knocked down by someone or something in one form or another. We may become sick or become diagnosed with a form of illness or disease. Our lives change with the sudden ‘fall’ and things are altered, perhaps permanently. These things can change not only our lives in the physical sense, but they can also change how we feel emotionally.
When I fell this morning it was completely unexpected (as the majority of falls on ice are, I suppose). I had stopped my car at the end of our driveway to put mail in our mailbox. When I was getting back into the car, I slipped on ice which I hadn’t been aware of and landed hard, hitting my legs on the door and side of my car on the way down and slamming my arm into the ground. I hadn’t seen the ice because I was in a hurry to get back into the car and to get to work. I had also been distracted thinking of the million of things which I had to do in the day. It may have been that I was too preoccupied to notice the ice beside my car, or that I had been hurrying too much to even see it, but I certainly became quite aware of it as I landed on it.
The fall, while embarrassing and painful, was witnessed only by my daughter, but it still made me feel quite humiliated. I was frustrated that I had fallen, unexplainably angry that my driveway was so icy, and mad at myself for not being more careful with my steps. I was angry and upset at the pain I was feeling, but perhaps the next time I step out of my car, or step back into it, I will be more careful with my where I place my feet.
We can also find ourselves knocked off our feet in life in the non-literal sense as well. We may be going about our regular lives when something takes us by surprise and pulls the rug out from underneath us. We may be betrayed by a friend or loved one, hit with unexpected bad news, confronted with unanticipated expenses, or attacked when we least expect to be. The ground, or our current ‘reality’ in a sense, may seem to shift beneath us, causing us to lose our footing. Or it could be that we may find ourselves crashing down to a new ‘reality’ or perhaps even ‘a visit with the real world’.
Sometimes we go through life hustling and bustling along our way, hurrying to get things done, and we forget to notice the things around us. We may find ourselves lost in thought and not realize that we are breaking the speed limit. A quick visit by a police officer at the side of the road reminds us of what we should be paying attention to. We may take things for granted, thinking that someone who we rely on will always be there for us regardless of the way we treat them. One day, when they are not, we realize that we have been selfish and self-centered in thinking that our problems are the only ones which are important. We may have placed things in our lives like material possessions and goods at the top of our priority list and we can end up being drastically reminded that these things are the least important of all, especially when they cease to be ours.
While landing flat on our behinds literally or hypothetically can be a bit humiliating and painful, it can also serve to remind us of what we are placing as most important in our lives. Are we racing to work without taking the time to be joyful and thankful for the blessings which we have been given such as a job to go to and a vehicle in which we can get there? Or are we so caught up in our own possessions and acquisitions that when things start to fall apart for us it is only then that we realize what our focus should have been on instead? Falling flat on our face can be a wake-up call that can lead us to making wiser decisions in the future, to valuing those things and people which should be most important to us instead of when it is too late, and to taking time to ‘notice’ all those things around us, whether they be ice on the ground or the beautiful colour of the morning sky.
So, even though I’m bruised and sore, I’m thinking that maybe losing our footing every once in a while is alright. Perhaps it is even necessary to fall flat occasionally in order for us to see where we should have our feet firmly planted in this world in the first place.