How surely gravity’s law, strong as an ocean current, takes hold of even the smallest thing and pulls it toward the heart of the world…
This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. – Rainer Maria Rilke
First, there is the fall, and then we recover from the fall. Both are the mercy of God! – Lady Julian of Norwich
I’ve entered a season of life that feels an awful lot like falling. From the outside, I still laugh and eat and tell merry stories, but on the inside I’m still probing and searching for the thread that is (or will be) my life.
Ah yes, this is what unemployment feels like.
My natural inclination and response is to share that God is my Rock, “the lifter of my head” as I’ve read in recent Psalms, but I’m still often vexed by the constant voices of self-doubt and regret, wondering how in the world I ended up here.
This was the path I chose, and it’s wrought with all kinds of uncertainties – I just didn’t know the sensation of loss would feel this uneven, though.
And yet, there’s an odd and unmistakable feeling of serenity too, as if God is ever faithful in the moment, despite having no other firm setting on which to stand.
So it’s like I’m falling backward with no signal of God’s provision, other than the trusting sound of His voice that says, “my hand is right underneath you – protecting you.”
And right now, the soothing of His voice is enough (well, most of the time, that is).
I’ve come to realize that “falling” is the very place of spiritual growth, for in it lies the developing ability to wait and trust throughout all sorts of insecurities.
And if we were truly honest about life, we’d admit that there are all sorts of “falls” in life that require an extra bit of faith for us to make it through life with some sanity – and felicity even.
There’s the literal falling as babies learning to walk.
There’s the falling of not believing all the teases from other kids in grade school.
There’s the falling of sinning and making mistakes but learning that people- hopefully my parents- still love me (and that God does too).
There’s the falling of not knowing how my grades will turn out and if/where I will go to college.
There’s the falling of not knowing where my first job will be (and if I’ll ever get a job).
There’s the falling of asking someone out on a date (or waiting to be asked out), and not knowing the response.
There’s the falling of heartbreak when the answer is no.
There’s the falling of getting married and not knowing where we’re going to live and how we can afford to live and how we can get through some of the conflicts that feel like we’ve been at war.
There’s the falling of singleness and wondering if I’ll ever meet someone.
There’s the falling of unemployment, of illness to those we love, of whether or not we’re ever going to have kids, of being a parent for the first time and wondering how in the world God trusted us with this, of watching our kids grow up and seeing if they’re tall enough/smart enough/fast enough to at least be average, of watching our kids get teased and resisting the urge to pick a fight ourselves, of watching our kids get broken hearts, or our kids get sick, or our kids go through all that we went through…
And finally, there’s the falling of “whoa, I’m really going to die soon.”
Life is full of falling.
Wherever we are in life, there’s the element of trusting God through the unknown, because after all, we’re limited, broken, fallen human beings who really aren’t in control, as much as we’d like to be.
And so however the sensation of falling might feel like for me right now, there’s the comfort that God is showing me how true and sure His hand underneath me really is.
And maybe that’s why this is the best place I could ever be.