Saturday, November 14, 2009

On Falling

I was laying awake last night, thinking, and this thought crossed my mind; "I'll always fall." I paused. That thought was one I would have assumed would be discouraging, but it wasn't. It was actually encouraging and comforting. You see, I don't make a habit of falling down. I have fairly good balance. I climb trees all the time but have never fallen out of one. Even when I do fall, I manage to catch myself in a way that I can stand up and jump right into whatever is going on. (Which looks really weird when there isn't anything going on. "Attack!! Oh, hi *sheepish grin*") I trip often enough, slip now and then, but I always catch myself and keep from falling. But in the metaphorical sense, in the spiritual sense, I'm not like this.

You see, I fall a lot. I mess up. I make stupid choices. I say the wrong thing. I wallow in self-pity. I harbor bitterness. I'm prideful and we all know what that comes before.

A lot of times it feels like as soon as I regain my footing, I'm falling again. I'm not used to falling, I feel like I should know how to keep my footing. But I'm finding that I'm only like that physically. It's nearly impossible to keep my footing in any other way.

There are so many people who have helped me up after each fall. Somehow I grew into the mindset that every time I fall after someone has helped me up, it's an insult to them. They just helped me, why'd I go and fall again? If I'm gonna just fall and make the standing up worthless, then why stand up at all?

I'll always fall. And that's okay, because every time I stand back up, I'm learning something new. There's a difference in the falls. I'll always fall, but that doesn't mean I have to mess up the same way twice.

And you know what? If I mess up the same way again, it won't really be messing up the same way. When I look back and I see points in my life where I thought I was doing exactly what had already happened, I can now see that it wasn't the same. It felt the same at the time, I thought it was the same, but it wasn't.

I'm not sure how to explain the difference. I think the biggest difference is that every time I stand up again, I learn something. And that knowledge can't ever quite be forgotten. It can be ignored. But even when it's ignored it's still there, and it changes actions and thoughts and feelings. It makes falling down different.

I read a book a little bit back. The main character was obsessed with labyrinths. She viewed them as spiritual journeys, walks. The thing about a labyrinth is that you enter in the same place that you come out from. You walk through, you reach the center, and then you walk back out. Was it pointless? You didn't go anywhere, you just went in a really winding circle. You came back to the same spot. But you didn't. The experience of walking through the labyrinth was something, and standing at the point you entered you look at the world with a little more insight. With the things you learned in walking through the labyrinth.

I view falling as kind of similar. You backtrack. You end up where you left. But you end up just a little stronger. You learned something, and even when you fall next that knowledge cannot be taken away from you. Every time you fall and then stand back up, you're taking another step. Saying, "I learned from this fall."

I'll always fall and, so long as I stand back up, I'll always learn.

1 comment:

Elraen said...

One of my heroes, Renee Yohe (the reason To Write Love On Her Arms was founded), said something once that I've come back to multiple times--

"What matters isn't that you fell, but that you got back up. No matter how many times it takes, it's that you get back up that matters. We fall down, and all isn't lost."

Just thought I'd add that. :-)