Like 99.9999% of the population, I didn’t plan on falling. I try my hardest to stroll cautiously on the ice. I though that I was doing pretty well by not falling so far during this treacherous winter season. But it was only a matter of time until the soles of my boots met a patch of ice in the most inopportune way.
Fortunately, having lots of “padding” on my body helped to cushion my fall, although I managed to find a couple of bruises on me this morning. I didn’t hit my head (thank God), but my face was staring directly into the patch of ice that inhibited my walking. But after grumbling at the ice for about 45 seconds, I got back up – even though I was a little sore, a little embarrassed and a greatly discouraged.
Like many of you, during the past few days I have been watching some of the Winter Olympics. It truly amazes me how these women and men on the slopes and rinks can fall down and quickly find themselves back on their feet again. Even after some traumatic injuries, they return to the ice and snow. They’ve felt the pain of falling, and yet they aren’t afraid to try once again.
I’m greatly fearful of participating in most of these winter sports. I would probably fall, and in that fall I would probably gain a concussion or find one of my bones cracked. I’ve managed to injure myself in one of the three times I’ve been ice skating and still have the scar 22 years later to prove it. Why would I want to fall, and why would I put myself in any situation where I would? So I refuse to risk.
But what about the failures that don’t include broken bones? Our souls are on the slopes even though our bodies are far from them. I see these spiritual slopes as starting a new business, engaging in a relationship or taking on a new call? We may not find ourselves with physical bruises, but if we fall or fail, our egos will be bruised. Our reputations will be scarred. In many cases, we don’t go back to the slopes of life because the emotional and spiritual pain was way to great the last time we fell.
I remembered when I failed my driver’s test, and when I didn’t get into seminary the first time I applied and when I didn’t fully pass my orals on the first time. In each of those cases, I thought about quitting. I thought about laying on the spiritual ground after I had fallen. But, instead, I got back up.
Whether it was a metaphorical or physical fall, it felt good to get back up. I was grateful that I was able to rise after all of my falls and fails.
The Bible is full of fails. Samson failed, and then he got back up before he died. David failed in his choices with Bathsheba, but then he got back up. Even Jesus failed in his approach with they Syrophoenician woman. She corrected him, and he continued with his ministry. He fell as he was prosecuted by Rome and crucified, but as he rose on the third day, his story spread throughout the land and has lasted 2000 years later.
And our rising back up is sweeter when others give us a hand and we can help others in their healing process. Rising from failures – physical or emotional – aren’t done in a vacuum. They are most successful when we can help one another rise from the pits and patches of ice.
So I might not ski down large slopes or attempt the Double Lutz while on ice. But I’ll continue skiing down many emotional and metaphorical slopes throughout the rest of my life. Most likely, I’ll fall again, and maybe I’ll experience another powerful resurrection.