“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ”
A few days ago my a dear friend fell through her upstairs floor into her living room. Just like that. Even as I write this is sounds absurd. One minute she was showing me the progress of renovations in her new bathroom, the next second she had almost disappeared–only her curly hair framing her terrified face and her grasping hands left in sight.
It was one of the most frightening moments I have experienced. It felt as though I was moving in slow motion. I ran to grab her hand and just hold her in case her grasp slipped. I knew I probably couldn’t pull her back up but I was terrified that she might just be gone–in one instant just like that–disappear from sight if I didn’t hold her with everything I had.
The story has a happy ending. Her very tall strong husband had heard the crash and was there in minutes to help her down. Also she had the good sense to fall through the ceiling right above an overstuffed chair loaded with piles of cushy laundry. Her fall would have been broken gently.
Her injuries were minor: bruises and ugly scrapes. And those muscles that she hasn’t used in years are sore. Now that she is on the mend we can laugh about it. We talk about how she can decorate the hole in the ceiling, the graffiti that can be written across the plastic. We tell the story to ourselves over and over processing it–like a couple of two year olds trying to make sense of what happened.
But laughter and a good story aside, the metaphor contained in her fall does not escape me. It has happened to all of us in one way or another. We are excited and hopeful, thinking about the future (new pedestal sinks! a happy marriage! a new baby!) when BAM! the floor unexpectedly drops out from underneath us sending us plummeting down–how far–we don’t know. If we are lucky we find a strength we did not know we have, perhaps have a friend who will hold on for dear life in case we get tired, another one to catch us and hold us and comfort us.
But sometimes its different. In the hour after her fall, the what ifs were heavy on all of our minds. What if she had landed on her back? What if she had not caught herself? What if she fell on something hard, sharp or fragile? It happens. We didn’t dare utter these thoughts aloud but you could see them floating across all of our eyes as we made the dinner, taped up the plastic, took care of the children.
I made a mental note as I came back home of another lesson I took from the fall. It was a stark reminder. Perhaps a message from an unseen angel. We never know when the bottom is going to drop out. There are no guarantees we will be here in the next minute.
Note to self: Stop worrying and just LIVE. I have been making so many excuses these days for why I can’t pursue hidden dreams in my heart. Its too risky. Too scary. Too hard.
Living fully in the moment can be so difficult. Just surviving in this modern world takes so much forethought and planning. There is so much to juggle, so little margins for spontaneity, so little room for risk. Sometimes I look up and find that the planning of life has consumed me–and stopped me from noticing the joy all around from participating in my life fully. Sometimes its all I can do just to breathe. Letting go of the trappings and expanding into the opportunity the day has brought, finding the courage to say WHY NOT takes faith and courage.
Living in the moment also can be scary. It is so easy to put ones head in the past or the future in order to avoid that which is scary in the now. Every day I have to remind myself consciously to stop and make the choice to sink into whatever the day offers instead of obsessing about the future or past.
Tonight I close my eyes and ask for the wisdom, the courage and the strength to get out of my head and into the now. To be fully embrace each chance I have to walk in the park, hug my child, appreciate the chance to just be to connect with a dear one, a neighbor, a stranger. To take the risk to try scary, hard new things. To stop making excuses for why I can’t. To get out of the bud and blossom while I have the sun on my face.