‘Falling Upward’

Terry Walton



I Was Thinking…

Have you ever fallen up a flight of stairs?  I have and it is an experience that caused me to feel foolish and in too big of a hurry.  I wasn’t paying attention.  I bruised my shin as a reminder for several days that I should pay attention not only to walking down stairs but also to walking up stairs.

Richard Rohr in his book Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life writes “It is when we begin to pay attention, and seek integrity precisely in the task within the task that we begin to move from the first to the second half of our lives.  It is hard work.  Most often we don’t pay attention to that inner task until we have had some kind of fall or failure in our outer tasks.” (P. xv)

A great question to ask is “Why are we doing what we are doing when we are doing it?”  I fear that all too often we forget the ‘why’ of life; the ‘why’ of relationships; the ‘why’ of ministry; and the ‘why’ of church.  And yet all of us have an inbred DNA that cries out for ‘purpose’.  So I call us to pay attention to the ‘why’ before we have some kind of failure that forces us to look deep into the ‘why’.
It’s always a sad tragedy to me that there often has to be several serious traffic accidents at an intersection before a traffic light is installed.  It’s always a sad tragedy to me that there is all too often many regrets before we human beings learn to love as we are first loved.  It is always a sad tragedy to me that addiction is filled with people who say “If I had only listened to those who tried to tell me not to flirt with alcohol, drugs or pornography”.  Why do we have to have a failure before we are able to see clearly?
Walt Disney once said “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional”.  That’s a great quote for Disney World where we can all become a child again.  But it is sad quote for real life where many adult children are raising adult children.  People who never grow up remain narcissistic and childish.  God’s call of us is to serve others and become childlike.  Which are we…childish or childlike?

So let us pay attention to the staircase of life.  We will fall…that is our humanity.  But I’d rather fall upward than downward.  I pray I’ll pay attention to the bumps and bruises so that there will be less bumps and bruises in the long run of life.

Let me ask it again “Why are we doing what we are doing when we are doing it?”
Always Thinking…

Always Thinking…

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