Things happen when we least expect them. It takes us by surprise and we are never left the same. Sometimes we get knocked over. Sometimes we feel as though our legs were taken out from underneath us and we hit the ground so hard that it knocks the wind from our chests. We lay there, panting and panicking that we'll never breathe again before our lungs finally fill with air and we realize that we aren't dying.
Sometimes you have to lay on the ground for awhile before you can get back up. You need to see where you've fallen from. You need to feel the support of the ground beneath you, and you're scared to get up because you don't want to get knocked down again. You never want to feel what you just experienced; the lack of air that made you feel like all was lost.
And so we lie and wait, hoping that somehow we'll find a way to get back to our feet. Sometimes, we have to dig deep within ourselves and find the strength to do it on our own. We talk ourselves through it and give our own pep talks. Sometimes, we need a helping hand, and that's okay, too. A family member or friend comes along and helps us to our feet again. Regardless of how we get there, the important thing is we are once again standing.
Getting back to our feet was the hard part, but moving on and continuing forward is no easy task either. You may be stronger now and breathing, but it doesn't always come easy. You still hold on to the fear that you may fall again. You keep looking behind you and sometimes you may get lost.
Even when you feel like it's impossible, it's important to keep moving forward so you can focus on what's ahead of you. You left behind what made you stumble and keeping your eyes behind you will only make you fall again. Being obsessed with looking for what took your feet out in the first place will only prevent you from enjoying what's happening around you and what waits in front of you.
I've fallen myself. I've fallen many times. I have spent weeks with my back on the ground staring skyward before I was able to get up again. And I still stumble even now. I glance backward, worried that I'm running away from what tripped me instead of preparing for another fall or learning from it. And then I remember to look forward again because of a few things I've learned along the way.
I’ve learned that I can’t fix everything.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to accept that you have no control in certain situations.
I’ve learned that I can’t take care of everyone without taking care of myself first.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to let go of people or situations that aren't good for you and it doesn’t mean that you are giving up.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to focus on yourself and your own happiness and that doesn’t mean you are being selfish.
I’ve learned how to lose yourself in someone you love and then how to recover from that.
I’ve learned how to rely on myself and find strengths I never knew I had.
I’ve learned how to forgive.
I’ve learned how to be grateful for everything and I am — even the things that knocked me down in the first place.
The fall doesn't make me as fearful as it used to. I know I'm capable of rising from it. I know I can survive the fall. I keep my eyes trained forward. And every once in a while I glance behind me to remind myself of where I've been, how I've grown and what I've overcome.