“The greatest glory in living
lies not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela
Life with three young boys involves a lot of dirt, a lot of sweat, occasional blood, and frequent tears. It’s messy! They run, they jump, they play…hard! They laugh, they scream, they cry. They spill, they drop, they get hurt. There are 2 volumes: loud and louder; and there are 2 speeds: fast and faster. We are ON at all times!
As a result of their balls to the wall, 24/7, full force play philosophy, they fall down often. Yesterday we were basically outside from 10:30 am til about 7:30 pm with just a few water and milk breaks thrown in between. As the boys were running full speed with their little cars, Ethan hit a bump in the sidewalk and it practically flipped him straight up into the air and over his car. It was pretty impressive to watch actually, but then very sad. Luckily, no major injuries were sustained other than a few scratches and a bruised ego.
I comforted him and kissed his boo boos and told him how brave and strong he is. We talked about the bump that knocked him over and that it was scary but that he’s ok now. Then I said, “Sometimes we hit bumps in the road and we fall down. Its ok! You’re brave and you’re strong. Sometimes we fall down, but then we get back up and try again.” He pulled himself together, took some breaths, calmed his crying and then he smiled and said, “I strong! That bump knocked me over but I ok!” We snuggled and he sat with me on the swing a little longer and then he went back out to conquer the car and all the bumps the road had to offer.
In the road of my life, I’m currently dealing with a pretty big bump. In many ways, the last 10 to 12 years have felt like a chain of bumps and a series of never ending falls, each one bigger than the last; but this particular bumpy fall is the biggest one yet. I hit it hard and I hit it fast. It scooped me up off my feet, flipped me over and slammed me down on my head. I wasn’t prepared for it, although I’d been warned all along the path that it was coming. Everyone else knew how bumpy this road was, yet I chose to travel it anyway. Thankfully, when I hit the torturous bumps of this road, I wasn’t met with too many “I told ya so’s,” but rather with open, loving arms of, “Its ok. You’re strong. You’re brave. Sometimes we hit bumps and we fall, but then we get up and we try again.”
Lord knows I have fallen in my life more times than I’m proud to admit. I’ve made really bad choices, traveled really rocky roads, and entered territory I was never meant to enter. I’ve tried to create paths when there were none, pretend like the bumps weren’t too big for me to handle, and ran blindly, full speed in the wrong direction. I’ve failed. I’ve thrown away my dreams. I’ve spiraled down into the rabbit hole and been unable to get myself out. I’ve gotten bruises and bumps, I’ve bled, and I’ve hurt. I’ve been heedless with my heart and reckless with my life, and I’ve come completely undone as a result.
I am the kid who sticks her finger in the light socket. I am the person who doesn’t check the expiration date on the milk. I am the idiot who has never looked before she leaped. I am the girl who is falling apart, right now.
But no matter how many times I’ve fallen, I have always gotten back up and tried again. I have always gathered my broken pieces and attempted to put them back together. The pieces haven’t always fit, some have gone missing, and some are irretrievably broken. There are some bumps that have left permanent scars on my life. But I’m still here, I’m still trying, and I’m still living.
Sometimes in life, we fall.
There’s just no way around it. In order to succeed, sometimes we have to fail. In order to learn, we have to make mistakes. In order to rise, we have to fall. Sometimes, the bumps are what we climb on!
I haven’t lead a flawless life. It hasn’t gone according to plan. I’ve never done any of the big things the “right” way and I’ve swam against the grain in most everything. I’ve fallen short of my potential at times and often felt I’d completely thwarted God’s plan for me in an irrevocable way. But what God continues to show me through it all is that nothing is ever too broken for Him to heal it. I can never fall too many times for Him to lovingly scoop me back up and help me try again. I want my boys to see that it’s ok to fall. It’s even welcomed. As long as they get back up and keep going.
Sometimes we fall. And that’s okay, because we are brave, we are strong, and we can always try again. I may be the girl who fell, but I’m also the girl who got back up! Heck, I might even fly.