It was one of those times when I didn’t watch where I was going. (In my defense, I was moving a hummingbird feeder invaded by bees and was somewhat distracted.)
One minute I was upright and focused, then in a swirl I was bottom side up, peering through a very different world view.
Nothing much was damaged except my pride, but it got me to wondering. Why is it so easy to fall as a child, and such a big deal when we get to be an adult? A baby, of course, has that padded bottom and is a lot closer to the ground when they fall dozens of times a day learning to walk.
But what about a teenager? Have you ever watched a skater learning a new move. I cringe when I see them almost make it, only to come crashing down. They just brush themselves off and go forward.
It seems to me that we hold ourselves tighter as we become older. We want our swooping and diving only in controlled doses. In a swing, perhaps. Or for the more adventurous, a Six Flags roller coaster.
We do that in our connections with people, too. On a rational level, we know that no relationship lasts forever—shoot! We don’t last forever.
I can’t tell you, though, the number of people who have told me that they are fearful of entering another relationship for fear of losing. Or who turn down a new job because it means starting over, becoming a beginner once again.
We seem to take a very black/white view of life, ignoring the process, the journey, in favor of focusing on the end. Why do we do that?
It doesn’t have to be that way. I just finished a marvelous book by Philip Simmons called Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life. Discovering that he had Lou Gehrig’s disease, Simmons nevertheless lived a full and rich life, moment by moment, day by day.
Perhaps the key may be not only re-learning how to fall, but also re-learning how to let go.
For like the Phoenix bird rising, new beginnings are built on the ashes of past experiences. Only by recognizing the transitory nature of life can we truly appreciate the gifts it gives us.