I fell down an entire flight of stairs this afternoon. I tried to stop the fall by grabbing the railing, but it was no use. I slid stair by stair only to land in a tangled mess on the floor. For a minute, I sat there and watched as a bruise started to form on my arm.
Other than my daughter, asleep in her bed, no one was home. There was no one to grab my hand and pull me up. There was no one to come and say “are you okay?” My neck hurt; my leg hurt; my tailbone ached. But, I pulled myself up.
And when I did, I thought of this quote from one of the greatest books of all time, The Alchemist. I’ve been reading it with my seniors for many years. Coelho writes, “The secret in life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
All day, I’ve been brewing this over in my head. It is inevitable that we will fall no matter how hard we try to stop it. Sometimes, it’s of our own doing and sometimes, we lose our footing because someone bumped into us or pushed us. Today, no matter the beauty of the sun streaming in on the steps making it seem like failure was impossible or the strength of my own arms, I fell.
We stumble; we trip; we crumble; we’re pushed; we willingly melt into the earth because we give up for just a minute.
But I want my small children to know that this truly is the secret in life, like Coelho says. Life might knock them down. And they might fall, but after resting or regrouping or evaluating their injuries, the only thing left for them to do is to stand. They must rise. I want these two children to know that they must keep standing, even if they feel broken or are broken.
Sometimes, they will have people to lift them into their arms and kiss their bruises, literal or figurative. And it is my blessing that many times, that will be me. But as hard as it is for me to think about, other times, they will be all alone and it will be up to them to stand up and ask for help as they rise. And sometimes, people will laugh as they struggle to stand. But it’s my duty as their mother to show them what it looks like to fall or fail but to rise despite it all.
So tonight, as they drift into sleep, I will whisper into their ears, “When you fall, rise up, my sweet darling. No one or nothing can keep you down. ” If you will, whisper it with me to your own, “When you fall, rise up, sweet darling. No one or nothing can keep you down.”
Thanks for Mothering the Divide with me and for encouraging me as I rise. This is my humble prayer: let us show the children that the fall is only part of life and that the RISE is the secret of life and always comes after the fall.