I never wanted to be that girl, but turns out that I am indeed the girl that falls. A lot.

Last Sunday, I was laser-focused and oddly excited. For the first time in a long time my schedule was mostly clear. I had no travel for several weeks, limited teaching and minimal meetings. I had just painted our entire little villa. All our linens were fresh and every drawer and closet was perfectly organized, paperwork caught up, messages sent. I felt like I could focus, really focus on two things that were always being pushed to the back of the list.

I was finally making real headway at getting healthy again (boxing is a passion of mine and two interns had just securely hung my beloved punching bag!).

I had set schedule for concentrated writing (I have no fewer than 4 books that need to be finished, revised and edited).

I was feeling incredibly hopeful.

In the rushed giddiness I was experiencing, mixed with the warm air and sunshine of spring, I broke my own rule and began mopping our steep, granite steps in my bare feet.

Yeah, you guessed it, my feet came out from under me, and I landed on the corner of the granite steps, cracking my ribs, falling further and hitting everything already wounded yet again.  I immediately started laughing and crying in shock and pain and my friend Lynne, who witnessed the whole mess, began praying, and speaking words of comfort.

Fractured ribs and a bruised body are painful, feeling like an idiot is embarrassing, realizing I would not be able to punch and kick for a while was mildly devastating. Turns out not being able to take deep breaths leaves you dizzy and tired, which is not the best for long hours of writing.

I woke up Monday morning feeling like I had been hit by a truck, and I wondered why these things always happen just when you can feel yourself breaking through to the other side. Discouragement washed over me. Hopelessness peeked at me over my white sheets.

I laid back down.

I never thought I would be the girl that falls down the stairs. I never thought I would be the girl who’s life is highlighted by scandalous and sometimes shocking drama. Sometimes I tripped over my own life and fell down, sometimes I was pushed.  Then, there are the falls I will never be able to explain because I will never be able to understand what exactly even happened.

The thing about falling is it seems to rarely be a private event. I have noticed that even more witnesses usually appear when you try to get back up, now disheveled and bloody. Most times there is at least one beautiful human that watches the fall, turns away when your skirt flies up over your head and comes to help you back up, praying for you and speaking kind words of comfort.

We carry on because it’s what we do. We keep getting up and we keep fighting for another day. Falling is nothing new, and honestly getting back up does not really make us heroes. Getting back up is what’s expected. It’s almost natural.  

The danger is not in the depth of the fall, or the gracefulness in which we rise again for the world to see. There is no danger in the number of times we rise and fall.  

The danger is when we let the last fall steal our joy and we submit to the fear that is whispering to us. It’s the fear of having hope again. After all, if you have no hope then you also can’t be let down. Right? When we stop feeling the excitement and the hope of a new day and instead choose to live in shades of gray, safely in the middle, we may think we are safe there, but we are playing with fire. Staying in the gray, and in the hopeless place will eventually seduce us into losing our faith.

I have been there. I have loved deeply and experienced loss that was devastating. I have dreamed huge only to be disappointed. I have trusted only to be betrayed. I have hoped only to have my hopes crushed. I have entertained the gray only to find that gray was becoming my color.

When I look around I see a world of humans settling for gray, staring at their phones and their computers, any and all screens. They are not just missing the trees, the sky and the flowers; mostly, they are missing the other humans.

Living in the gray seems to be the new normal. We have generations of people that are afraid to feel pain. We give young people pills to keep them from feeling nervous instead of telling them that it’s normal, and showing them how to deal with it. We have adults leading with an example of numbing all their feelings instead of working through them and becoming a stronger and more relateable leader, the kind that younger people can look up to and follow.  

When did depression and anxiety become an epidemic so vast that no one seems shocked or concerned at the commonplace it holds in our world? When did we become a world of zombies, by choice? That’s the scary thing. We have walked right into the trap and we are taking our kids with us.

We were created to bring life and sustain life. We were created to feel pain, to weep, to have emotions. We were created to laugh, to sing, to dance and experience real joy.

We were created to be over-comers.

Zombies are not over-comers, nor are their children. We have to feel the pain, and work through it to the other side, and we have to teach our children that pain is a normal part of life and quit trying to rescue them from it.

Pain is a gift, only when we go deep into it and let it teach us do we get to experience true, crazy and unexplained peace and joy. There is always Hope when you live for something greater than yourself and when you lay your life down to make others great.

Take a deep breath, straighten yourself up, you may have fallen into it, but you can pray for strength and walk right out out of the gray.