On Thursday I fell. I wasn’t being careful and I slipped on a wet floor. My feet flew out in front of me and bam- there I was flat on my back. My head hit the floor pretty hard, and bounced up and then back down to add insult to injury. I lay there for a couple of minutes aware that there wasn’t anyone to “rescue” me so I’d better just get myself up. This isn’t the first time that I’ve fallen in recent past. A few months ago, I was carrying some stuff from the garage to the lower level and, instead of being the intelligent person I know I am (really, I’m brighter than this) and walking around to the lower driveway and going in, I decided I’d just go over a little wall. Next thing I know I’m on the ground, and the grandkids are yelling, “Nana! Nana fell!” Oh boy.
I’ve never been accident-prone and I’m really hoping that this isn’t the beginning of that kind of crazy. My daughter, Erin, is threatening to get me one of those bracelets like the woman in the Life Alert commercial, who yells “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”, wears.
My granddaughter, Lauren, came up with the word “brainjured” to use when someone hits her head. I think that’s creative, but having a blow to your head, whether it’s because you went skating across a slippery floor, or got injured any other way, can be REALLY serious.
When I started writing this post, I looked up “brainjured” just to see if anyone else has ever used that term. It turns out that there’s a blog called “brainjured.com” written by a man named Robert Rieck, who has a brain injury. In his home page he writes, “I do believe in God. It’s pretty difficult to forget that God detoured my life, from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. There is no scientific way I should have the mentality to perform anything I do now, much less, be alive. I’m happy to be alive and am very happy you are too.” If you’ve been reading Peace Full Home for a while you know that my brother, Bob, was diagnosed with his first brain tumor at age sixteen. He beat a lot of odds and lived until he was forty but his brain was severely compromised. I talk so much about our spirits- the essence of who we are, but our brains are right up there too. Sadly, many people think about the rest of themselves a lot more than their spirits or brains!
Falling down is tough. Since hitting my head on the floor, I get dizzy when I look up or look down, so I’ve been trying to look straight ahead. Looking only straight ahead is challenging if you’re used to being all over the place, but there has been a “payoff”. I’m staying focused on what’s right in front of me. Forget trying to do gardening or work on the ceiling (both things on my “to do” list). I’ve spent a lot of time catching up on paperwork while sitting at my desk. Right now I’m still “grounded” from my typical life- like a plane that’s grounded until it’s in perfect condition to fly. I don’t like feeling like I’m not “in control”, but in truth, am I ever REALLY in control?
You’d think that it would be a luxury to have to take it easy for a few days- but nope; I’m kicking and screaming all the way. Instead of simply “being” and “yielding” to the situation, I go outside start weeding, feel dizzy and come back in frustrated. Instead of picking up any number of books that I’m in the process of reading, I go down to the lower level and work on one of the projects we have going on, feel light-headed and end up trudging back up the steps resentful that my body isn’t cooperating with me, on MY schedule.
Sometimes in life we fall down not in a literal way, but rather by stepping away from what’s really important; by being “all over the place” instead of focusing on what’s right in front of us- the important parts of life: God, faith, those we love and care about, creating joy, living peacefully.
There are so many things we take for granted until they’re not part of our reality. Being “brainjured” is tough, but it’s taught me an important lesson: appreciate all the capabilities you have today, right now, while honoring what’s really meaningful.
When I think about the fragility of life- our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical selves- I recognize how sacred each day is. It’s not just the “big” moments, where you’re in the limelight or at the top of your game or madly in love or in the perfect place, that count. All the spaces in between those “big moments” are what really matter:
like my brother Bob who could laugh at himself even though he couldn’t move out of a wheelchair
like my husband, Larry, who is perfectly happy having a simple dinner with the family
like my granddaughter, Lauren, who sings in the shower because she lives into each day joyfully,
and like my eighty-seven year old friend, Miriam, who said to me a few months ago, “I’m just glad I made it to this age.”
Are you able to hit “pause” long enough to see how awesome you are?
Are you able to give up when necessary; able to give up the fight of having to be right, of perfectionism, of control, of power?
Are you able to stop worrying about all the things you’re afraid of happening or not happening?
Are you able to live every moment honoring life, or are you running through it so fast that you hit a lot of slippery floors?
Are you able to give up the fear of falling down?
There’s a Chinese Proverb that I think is wonderful: “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.” I’m going to apply that to a lot more than just the physical falling down of my life. I’m going to work at not being afraid to fall down by trying something new, by taking a chance, by seeing the world though a different lens, by not just “thinking outside the box” but by LIVING outside the box. I’m also going to be cognizant of NOT falling down where it’s important that I’m stable and firmly planted.
©2015 Peace Full Home
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #25. Memorize a sentence with five of your best attributes; then use that sentence as often as possible- when someone asks you about “who you are”, when you at an interview or a party, and especially when you’re being hard on yourself!