Learning the hard way…

Well, I have been writing a Thursday “inspiration” email for almost four years. Thirteen months ago, I added this blog.

Sometimes I think maybe I will run out of material…but, no…no…the Lord just continues to provide….

My tale today begins quite a number of years ago, when our family lived in the south part of town. Our house sat up on a rise, with an inclined driveway. It wasn’t bad unless we had snow. Then it could be a bit of a challenge, or immense fun… depending on your age and activity.

For our middle child, one winter day, it was a hoot. She was slipping and sliding and having a grand time, until she face planted. It seems she had tucked her arms inside her coat and had no assistance to intercept her mouth from the pavement.

A busted lip and two dangling teeth later (thankfully, they were already slightly loosened non-permanent ones), we extracted her from her coat while her dad affirmed, “This is WHY we DON’T put our arms INSIDE our coats when we are moving about!!!”

I nodded supportively, mentally grilling myself if I had indeed ever taught this to our children; on account of I still very much could remember how hilarious it felt to swing those empty sleeves around your overstuffed coat…hmmmm…. Well, I did gain head knowledge from the experience and was a diligent Keep-your-arms-in-your-sleeve Monitor from that day forward.

But I must not have really absorbed the teaching in my heart.

Because last Friday night, I jammed my hands in my pockets to brave the night air as we walked to a program at the Civic Center. I was still shivering when I got inside so remained hunkered down like this as we started up the stairs.

All was well until my toe caught on the step just before the landing. I did a dead-man’s fall flat on my face…with the added dynamics of stairs. I can not tell you the sheer panic as my body hurtled forward and I was paralyzed to stop myself. Not to mention the incredibly awkward feeling of laying there, unable to get up with my arms glued to my side, like a human ramp surrounded by my stunned companions.

Today I am still sporting bruises on my thighs and knees that grow in size and color daily. My ego has slightly recovered…..only mild embarrassment now overtakes me when I think of it…ok, I just blushed…

And you know, that pain…well…it’s helped me transfer this teaching from head knowledge to heart knowledge, after all these years. When we learn a lesson well, we never have to be reminded and pain is a great motivator.

I am quite certain I will never again walk with my hands in my pockets, at least not on stairs.

I have fallen flat on my spiritual face, and hard, many times in my life, as well. Most of the choices were things I had been taught and warned about. Things that I knew and agreed, in my head, were not good for me. But flexing to the circumstances around me, I did them anyway….Until I found myself face down and deeply hurting.

And the pain of the fall? That’s what got my heart engaged and began to change my behavior to match what I believed in my head.

I love that quote…something about….it’s not how you fall but how you get up that defines you. When we fall hard; hopefully, we learn.

If the fall turns us to God, and we let Him help us up…if we learn and never go back….that’s a good way to get up from a hard fall.

God bless you as you continue to learn and grow, and please…please…hold the handrail!

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