The Ups of Downs

I fell down the other day. It was sudden and the pavement was hard. I hadn’t expected to find patchy ice when I stepped outside to walk Danny and it was far colder than I had expected. The last thing that I wanted was for him to reinjure himself since he was finally on the road to recovery, but I wasn’t ready to head home either.  

We weren’t far from our house when I took that fateful step. I had been redirecting us to safer footing and I hit the ground with such force that I was momentarily stunned. In hindsight I remember thinking, “Thank goodness my phone is still okay,” as the audiobook I was listening to continued to play. Then I heard the concerned calls from my neighbor asking if I was alright. “I’m fine, no problem!” I called, as I jumped back to my feet and continued walking. 

It wasn’t until I was a block away that the tears filled my eyes and I wondered if I had hurt myself. Still, we continued walking into that cold wind. By the time we turned towards home, I was fairly confident that I had bruised myself quite nicely but nothing more serious. I can’t remember the last time I had a fall like that, I’m always really careful with my footing.

As the days have passed, the pain has changed. I find it interesting that when I first arrived home and inspected myself for injury, there wasn’t much to see. By the end of the day, I was beginning to turn purple in various areas. By the following day, I had even uglier bruising and a sore muscle in the other leg. The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a literal example of everyday life a fall is. 

Each day we’re given opportunities to take the safer route for fear of injury. People avoid risk because of the fear they’ll end up hurt, because of the unknown, because of potential worry. Day after day, I have taken that route and I’ve never fallen. I realized that there is no way for us to predict the step that will take us down. In the end what matters is picking ourselves up and taking those first few steps forward while we evaluate the damage. Broken bones, bruises and strained muscles will heal, but fear over the unknown will limit your living. You never know if the step that you take will leave you flat on your back but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take it. You should tread carefully and use good judgment, but don’t skip the walk entirely because of fear. You never know what you might miss out on.

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12 thoughts on “The Ups of Downs”

  1. This day of all days I needed to read this. I have been struggling with getting back up and I know that the longer I wait the harder it is to do. Thank you for this reminder. I occasionally forget and need to see things through the eyes and experiences of others.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, itswhatyouscatter, I’m so glad that it helped. It is never easy getting back up, but I’m glad that this reminded you that you aren’t alone in that struggle.

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  2. I fell a month ago, in my own house, while bringing in groceries during this long cold winter. I was angry with the weather. I was carrying a gallon of milk. Somehow the combination of my big clumsy heavy boots, my anger, and my imbalance due to carrying the milk jug lead to my falling. The milk jug must have absorbed a good deal of the impact. It exploded sending a river of milk down the stairs into the basement. It was going to be a giant pain cleaning that milk up. But there’s nothing like a metaphor materializing before your eyes to make a person wake up and think. So, spilled milk taught me to let go of the anger and accept winter – lessons I thought I’d already learned, but I guess not. Anger and winter exist. Recognize them and let go of them. And be happy it was the milk that cascaded down the stairs and not me.

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