Falling down

March 7, 2013

It was actually a small thing, but the most inconsequential happenings may become more important than they seemed at the time. I am unhurt, and that is the best possible news. Of course, a stubborn of bag of flatulence is always going to try to get back up, dust himself off, and announce that everything is just fine. It is a bit like the scene by the bridge in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. As the Black Knight says, “It’s just a flesh wound!”

It happened on the west side steps of the Arkansas state capitol building and it is probably a good thing that the incident did not happen indoors. Otherwise, some of the newly empowered lawmakers might have pushed me back down the stairs upon which I had gracelessly fallen face first. Now, these are concrete steps and, as you might imagine, going down hard on that kind of surface can really hurt. My enemies will be disappointed to know that I really am just fine. There is a small bruise on my left knee and a bit of soreness above my right elbow. It was a blow to human dignity. There is no graceful recovery from this kind of collapse. Yes, I will also concede that the roll of fat on my midsection may have absorbed much of the blow of this collision in slow motion with a hard and unforgiving surface. Thank God there were no lasting and more serious injuries. His hand was on me last Monday afternoon.


The most serious injury was sustained by the real me.Such a sudden and frightening mishap robs one not only of dignity but also of the self-confidence behind which we all cower at least some of the time. 62 years-old is hardly considered elderly, but there is a definite sense of caution for one who has escaped such a near catastrophe. Every step is the source or greater attentiveness. I am not safe. The world is not safe. This is a learning experience that deserves some consideration, perhaps even theological reflection.

In one minute, life changes. One is walking along chattering cheerfully with a friend. In just a breath, one is face down and frightened about what has just occurred and what it might portend. It is not right for a person over 30 to still feel the delusions of immortality that are better suited to a teenager. I am not a fixture, not permanent, not even meant to stand upright forever. It may be that death feels a bit like a sudden inexplicable accident. At once, things are transformed to a new and unchangeable status. The Great Litany addresses this possibility and places in the most dreadful contest. “From lightning and tempest; from earthquake fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence and famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden death. Good Lord deliver us.”

This may be over-thinking things, but there is the matter of premonition. Does God sometimes send us warnings about the uncertainty of human life, or more specifically, the changeable status of our lives. Get your life in order. Renew spiritual disciplines. Examine the inner man. The next time may be a lot worse.

Unexpected dislocations teach humility, if the student is willing to learn. Sometimes things just happen and I am not in control. I am weak and breakable. Thrown to the pavement, all one can do is look up to heaven and trust God for healing and courage. How did Jesus, tormented by the pain of a horrible beating and the weight of a crossbeam, feel has he lost footing and went down to the stone pavement?

Christians follow the way of the cross, but we are weak. In fact, that is the point. If you read the scriptures closely, notice that God does not favor the strong or the wealthy.God seems to have a preference for the struggling and out-of-favor. God demands that the glory be reserved for him alone and that human ineptitude should be prominent. Sometimes the Almighty mercifully reminds more mortals of their failings and impermanence. It is good when the Lord God Almighty gets your attention, even if that involves knocking a man down.


One Response to “Falling down”

  1. Fritzi Says:

    Mr. Lynch, I am glad to hear that you were not hurt. As we become older it is a very scary thing to fall. This was such a well written article. And you are so right about how life can change so quickly. Again, I’m sorry that you feel but glad you were not hurt. Thank you for sharing

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