I have a great friend named Sheena, she was my roommate for a little while. With her, came her two boys, ages 4 and 5 - I of course named them Walker and Texas Ranger. Outside on a Sunday morning after church they decided to become little hardcore-parkour experts. I sat and watched as they came up with a new game in which they tried to run across the top of the parking blocks in the church parking lot.
I could have maybe stopped stop them by yelling something about the dangers of concrete. But, who am I to squash such potential athletic genius.
Here’s how it works... Walker and Texas Ranger stand on one end of the parking block - They then charge ahead as if they believe they can run across the whole row of blocks at full-throttle. But at the end of the first one, they ultimately go tumbling off, smacking into the ground so fast that they can't even raise their hands to break their fall.
After one round - Walker quits.... But not Texas Ranger. On Texas Rangers second attempt, he doesn't even consider reducing his speed, he only manages a slightly more gracious half-roll as he collides with the ground. Round three - Grass stain. Then four - Skinned knees. And so it goes...
To spare you a recount of attempts five through fifty, here’s the cliff notes: As a young toddler, parking block sprinting is a full contact sport, and honestly it was rarely marked with success. What progress there is - looks less like winning, and more like figuring out better ways of falling.
With so little success, I began to applaud the particularly good falls. I indulged in a bit of masculine pride watching this little man-cub, his determination, and honestly the fact that he hadn't cried yet. It all made me a very proud roommate.
I know it’s a little bizarre to draw meaning from the antics of a four year old, but I can’t help but be a little jealous of this little guy... the fact that he was so undeterred by falling. I mean, he doesn't even stop to look around and see who is watching. He doesn't think about whether people will judge him, or what will happen if he falls too many times...
Falling, to him, is nothing more than the moment that lies between his attempts at greatness... And this makes me think that instinctively, Texas Ranger knows something that most of us spend a good chunk of adulthood trying to re-learn...
When it comes to the random thought of Falling Theology, I would probably start with this idea:
If you can’t remember the last time you fell, it probably means you’re not taking enough risks.
Another piece of advice that has occurred to me while he was lying on the pavement goes like this: It’s okay.
I mean, I think we should run as hard when we can, for as long as we can - But when we can’t run anymore, we should still walk - and, if there comes a time when we can’t walk, its ok to Fall. But, when possible, try your hardest to fall forward. And after that, when you get up enough energy, you might only be able to manage a crawl, and if we’re too exhausted to crawl, well, then... all you might be able to do is to lay on the ground. But, after all that... as soon as you can... it makes sense to get up, and try to run again.
The only real way to succeed is to get up one more time after you fall. Fall down 7 times - Get up 8...
From a biblical sense, look at the greatest leaders in the bible: What if Daniel would've let captivity break him? What if David would've wallowed in his dad’s failure to recognize his potential? What if Joseph would've stopped or given up after being sold into slavery?
So, whats your story? (And by story - I might mean excuse.) Are you too hurt, too scared, too tired, too broken, to poor, too lazy? Its time to harden up. Even if this is the hundredth time that you've fallen, it only makes sense you get up. Because as long as you keep getting up... who is anybody to tell you off, or judge you, or tell you that you don't deserve it is what you are working for.
Because on that day when maybe it is too much, and your taken from this world... you can rest assured that your gravestone can confidently read "at least i tried"... Honestly... that's a lot more than the majority of people in this world are going to be able to say.
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