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Falling Into Place

Gently falling snow blanketed the neighborhood as I walked my dog one last time before bed. Warm light spilled from the homes, turning the snow a golden tinge. Street lights created a sparkling spectacle as flakes danced to the ground.

One minute I was admiring the beauty of the winter evening, and the next, I was flat on my back staring up at the purple hued sky, snowflakes falling on my face. Unbeknownst to me, a patch of ice lay hidden under the fluffy white stuff on the sidewalk.

For a few seconds I just laid there and inhaled deeply. I then took inventory of my body for injury. Looked around for witnesses to the fall, and was grateful to see none.

Standing up and brushing myself off, my pup and I stepped gingerly toward home, not wanting to risk another fall. The good news is, I was not hurt, save for my pride.

Like falling on the ice, many falls are unexpected and unforeseen. Yet, there are many activities and stages in our lives where falling is a necessary outcome for learning what balance is all about.

Ice skaters and skiers experience the concept of balance as they fall time and time again. Tightrope walkers and gymnasts are privy to the act of falling as they learn the balance of their trade. Each of us, from an early age, falls many times until we master walking, running and riding a bike.

It is amid the act of being off balance that we learn how to regain our footing when we fall. And falling is not just limited to the physical things we do. On the contrary, we fall in all sorts of ways that require us to find the fortitude to get up and do it all again.

In the past four years I have fallen often. Fallen to the basement of my grief. Fallen into loneliness. Fallen into disappointment. Fallen into a relationship or job only to discover it was not right for me. Fallen into patterns of behavior sparked by all the other falls.

Yet each time I have fallen, I have gotten back up. Have found the balance necessary to keep moving forward. Each time I have brushed off the hurt feelings, the sorrow, the rejection, the embarrassment, and I have found a way to solidly step into the next moment. Into the next challenge. Into the next experience.

There are times when falling is so very solitary. Lonely even…. that is, until I remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) This verse has been the “hand” that reaches toward me on the ground and lifts me up. It’s Christ who helps me recenter my thinking so I don’t stay on the ground when I have fallen, giving up altogether.

Time and time again, Chr