Okay, so I started off the morning by falling. Yep. Tripped in the dark and walloped my head against the trunk that nestles against the foot of our antique bed. My husband, the sweet guy I was trying not to awaken, leaped from the bed with the speed and grace of a gazelle with good knees. He was, shall we say, a bit freaked out, yelping, “Honeyhoneyhoneyhoney!” then, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus … “
I lay on my side, my head bent at an awkward angle, knees grazed, right hand gripping my left wrist like a vise, chanting, “I’m all right, I’m all right, I’m all right,” though I couldn’t have sworn it was true. I wasn’t quite ready to move, not quite ready to test my body. Though somewhat satisfied my neck wasn’t broken, I wasn’t sure about my wrist. Before Rod could flip on the light, one thought did emerge coherent: “Cover my butt! Cover my butt!” He almost laughed, but complied, bending down to tug at my nightgown in the early morning shadows.
It was kind of strange that fall … tripping over something I knew was there. You see, that “thing” had been there all week, waiting quietly for us to move it upstairs. It had been in my path for days — there on the floor between my closet and my bathroom—and I had navigated around it without thought, without effort. It was big and soft. As a co-worker pointed out, I tripped over something soft and collided with something hard (the reverse would have been so much smarter). Why I stepped out of our closet, tripped, and flew—who knows?
How many other things have tripped me up on my way to my goals? Things I know are there, things in plain sight. Most of the time that thing is fear in its many forms. Fear of rejection, of criticism, of failure, of being thought silly or stupid or (fill in the blank), fear of no one reading what I write (or my posts if I were to ever begin a blog) … And for years I’ve allowed so many things to trip me up, to keep me from moving toward what is actually the essence of who I am — who I dream of being.
Remember the Henry David Thoreau line about leading lives of quiet desperation? (“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation … “) Most stop quoting right there, after all, just that much can be enough. It’s compelling, and folks can identify. But there’s more to that famous quote … “—and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Now that’s a mind-numbing thought. And if I don’t buck up and keep putting one foot in front of the other … if I don’t look that fear in the eye and make it back down, then it will win, and I will continue to live a life of quiet desperation (though I’m not necessarily so quiet about it. Just ask my husband and friends.). And my song will go to the grave with me.
Instead, I want to be like Erma Bombeck who said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything You gave me.”
All in all, it was a good fall. My neck and back are a bit sore, my right knee carpet-burned and stiff, my knuckles boxer-bruised (after all, I did “hit the deck”—ha-ha!), and my left wrist is purple. Still, a happy ending, when you consider what I slammed my head on and what could have happened. And, in the end, I pretty much kept my dignity.
What is tripping you up? Determine today to take some small step toward your goal, toward your dream.
“Enough shovels of earth — a mountain. Enough pails of water — a river.” (Chinese proverb)