Have you ever taken a fall? I mean for no apparent reason, lost your balance and ended up being more closely associated with the hard ground than you would have liked? It is terrifying to be out of control of your body, your fate and your surroundings. This happened to me very recently. As I inventoried the event later in the evening, I saw some amazing parallels to physical and spiritual “imbalance.”
My husband and I decided to run away one day from a situation that for a month held our focus and attention. It was full of drama, trauma and stress. Our abrupt departure was reaction to a month full of attempts to “help” someone we both love dearly who, due to some bad decisions, landed in trouble and danger. Did I mention the word help?
After packing a couple of bags, telling a few folks we were fleeing the city and driving a little over an hour, we arrived at our destination to begin our impromptu itinerary of retreat, rest and recovery. As you can imagine, we were distraught, exhausted and at the proverbial end of our rope collectively and individually.
While trying to help my husband unpack the car, I grabbed a bag that was too heavy for me. I did this despite the warning not to take on that heavy of a load. As I turned to close the car door, the load overtook me and I fell flat on my rump with both knees banging into a brick planter. That was it. All the emotion of the past month, in general, and that day, in particular, came flooding out in a most undignified display in the motel parking lot.
My husband ran to pick me up, but I would have none of it. I was cemented to the emotional pity pot of all pity pots. I cried so hard, I lost my breath. Actually, I think the breath was knocked out of me. Who knew my lungs terminated in my rump? My husband kept asking, “Do you feel pain?” All I felt was stupid!!! Here I sat, a trained dancer who just last week was praising God with dancing, twirling and leaps without a remote hint of a visit from Mr. Vertigo. Today I sat trying to remain upright, and regain balance and dignity; a battle that simply reeked of defeat. I must have looked a sight. The fact that my man resisted temptation to laugh out loud is testimony to the love and tenderness he feels for me.
That evening I soaked in hot, lavender-laced bath water and inventoried the bruising and swelling. I talked to God about my woes. Bathrooms are my favorite meeting places with the Lord. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. In fact, I wrote my whole Master’s Thesis in my shower. My husband sometimes asks me, “Exactly who lives in that bathroom?” Pulling forth the lesson of the metaphor, God began to gently and lovingly pull me back together. Our conversation follows.
God – “I love you child. Do you believe that? Did you know that sometimes you take on loads that are too heavy for you? Why do you try to do that which is beyond your abilities? It renders you disoriented, and takes your focus from the only One who can truly carry the burden.”
Me – “I know Lord. But this time I was sure I had the answer and could take the load and “help” even though there may be those more competent to navigate certain waters.”
God – Silence.
Me – “I don’t know how it got so muddled up. I just lost my balance and I fell, Lord. I fell.”
God – Silence.
By now I am sure you, dear reader, know I am not referring to the disastrous parking lot ballet but the month prior to this fall when I chose to sacrifice sanity and reason, and continued to plod along on a course of the all-knowing fix-a-thon. I believe it is not an exaggeration to say I was completely out of my depth.
Me – “The axe would have fallen had I not intervened, Lord. The course would have once again been on a downhill slide. Things were just looking up and I, and I and I………… I just wanted to be there, to help. It is my job, Lord. It is my work.”
God- “No, it is My job. It is My work.”
Me – “Oh.” Silence.
God – “I was never out of the picture, Laura. You did what you could. Now let me work. Why have you forgotten who I am and what I can do?”
Me – “I’m sorry. I did it all out of love and (gulp) fear.”
God- “Yes dear one. I know. I love you. Fear not. I’ve got this. Go to bed sweet child and get some rest.”
Me – “I love you too, Lord. Goodnight.”
After a good night’s rest, wrapped in the warm embrace of my Father’s love (and yes, discipline) I awoke sore from head to toe. Little joints, tendons and muscles that had mostly been voiceless for over 60 years, made their presence known. I would have loved for the soreness to go away immediately (cowardice takes on a whole new meaning when pain and I dance). But with each creaking step I grew stronger, less stiff and experienced less pain. Ah, good, I would dance another day. I acknowledged that I had overstepped my abilities (do ya think?), lost sight of the true author of my life and the lives of those I love. And, baby, it caused me to fall – hard.
The disorientation I experienced in the palm of panic was not physical, it was spiritual. The bruises are reminding me to listen when warned about the extraordinary weight of some loads. And just as my Father in Heaven did not stop my fall, I sometimes am called to do the most loving of all things – allow the axe to fall on others and, without judgment, stand at the ready to love in the face of the outcome. This is what our God sometimes follows as the most merciful course. This is my example.
Copyright April 2012
Lakewood, CO 80401