“Where we stumble and fall is where we find pure gold.” Carl Jung
My husband and I were talking the other night about life and
winter with four kids, about parents in transition and crisis, about waiting on
pins and needles and credit-cards for our much needed tax refund.
“You know what it feels like?” I asked. “Remember playing on a merry-go-round when
you were a kid? Hanging on to those
metal bars, pushing and running with all your might and then, suddenly your
foot slipped out and you fell, but your friends kept running? How you tried to hang on, to pull yourself up,
but you couldn’t get your feet back under you fast enough?”
I can remember the under-side of the merry-go-round so
clearly, the center post around which it all spun, the way the ground sloped
out away from the post to the ditch worn by running feet.
You never lost your footing all at once, but instead started leaning
hard, too hard. Soon your upper body was too far out in front of your legs and when you finally fell your shoulder slammed into dirt, old leaves, and mud. The kids behind and in
front of you kept running and it took a few seconds that felt
like minutes for your brain to send the message to your hands that right about
now would be a good time to let go.
“Yes,” he said, “that’s exactly what it feels like.”
We felt a little better then, having named the feeling and
paired it with a picture. Nothing was
solved, no weight lifted, but at least we had another angle, an image between
us, that gave expression to the experience.
There’s a certain kind of grace, I guess, in knowing where
you stand or, rather, lay. There’s some
comfort too in solid ground, if you can manage to not get trampled; comfort in lying there, still, as your breathing slows.
As you press your back into the ground you’re held by that to which we shall all one day return. Looking up, the sky opens, wide.
(image credit: www.lismorgan.com)