The fear of falling can be paralyzing.
We can become agoraphobic, unwilling to ever step out of our comfort zones. With our sense of adventure replaced by anxiety, we miss all the fun. And if we’re not comfortable with falling, we’re more likely to get hurt when we do.
Falling isn’t always fatal.
How many times did I fall before I graduated from the crawling stage? I don’t remember that part, but I can still feel the thrill when I took my first steps and reached my aunt’s loving arms. The falling hadn’t been a problem. It was just a necessary part of learning to walk.
Falling taught me to hang on.
When I was two years old, my sweaty hands lost their grip on the ropes, and I fell backward out of a swing onto my head. I was rushed to the doctor for stitches, but that didn’t keep me from having fun on the playground.
Falling didn’t mean I had to stay down.
Leaving school in the first grade, I ran in front of a car. Even though my six-year-old mind misjudged the car’s distance and speed, I would have been fine if I hadn’t slipped on loose gravel. I heard the screeching and felt the tire as it almost grabbed my ankle before I pulled away. If I hadn’t been quick about getting up, I would have been injured.
Falling made me more alert.
When I cruised down the sidewalk on my metal-wheel roller skates, I learned to be sure the clamps were tight on my walking shoes. I also learned that wearing loafers instead of lace-up shoes was putting my life at risk. How did I have so much fun jumping the cracks and bridging the uneven surfaces without wiping out? All the skinned knees and elbows taught me well.
Falling taught me how to fall.
My straight A’s in grade school revealed my creative brilliance. After successfully jumping off the porch, I wondered how high I could go. Or maybe we should say, how far I could fall without killing myself. An umbrella looked a lot like a parachute, so I figured it would slow my descent when I jumped off the roof. The umbrella collapsed upward and I went down like a rock. That’s when I learned how to fall: land on my feet, and roll.
Falling led me to be prepared.
Now that I’m in my seventies, I still climb to the top of a sixteen-foot ladder to hang Christmas lights on the roof. Twice, being as careful as possible, I lost my balance, which could have been serious if I had been telling myself that I wasn’t going to fall. Since I wasn’t caught by surprise, I knew what was better than falling: jump, land on my feet, and roll.
Every time I fall, I see it as a learning opportunity and a chance to have fun.
The ultimate excitement comes when I take those next steps and feel like I’ve reached my heavenly Father’s loving arms.
Next week, I’ll tell you about my greatest fun of falling.