I only saw his faded-white Nike high tops (with a black swoosh) from where my head laid on the icy ground. Next I saw his hand, reaching out.
“You good?” He said.
My right hip and right kneecap felt a sharp zing. My hands were gray with dirty snow and graveled-ice pavement. I grabbed his hand and next, noticed his eyes. They regarded me from the corners, as if checking to make sure there wouldn’t be an ambush of Oompa Loompas, waiting to attack.
I laughed a yes, defeated and yet relieved, still slipping on the black-iced sidewalk as I steadied myself. The young man continued walking as I said a hastened “Thank you” out of the corner of my mouth.
His gray pea coat and cotton beanie left my peripherals, and he was gone.
I had slipped on the sidewalk-ice that laid in front of the Congress Heights metro station. It sat like a slab of transparent, crackled cardboard.
My body, as it slipped, moved like a slow-motion camera you see on those funny TV shows. My left leg hung in the air like a puppeteer was pulling it straight up; I was an ice skater ready to twirl, or a child playing messy hopscotch. And I was too tired to do anything but let gravity hug me.
Sometimes gravity is God.
Pride has become a luxury that I no longer have. The more I examine my life and the places—and ways—I feel called to serve, the more I realize that this “slipping” and falling (along with the pain that comes shortly thereafter, i.e. A bruised hip, knee, or ego) is a part of my walk.
I no longer have the luxury of worrying about how I look. I am the kid with wobbly legs, skipping clumsily along an ice lake.
And this, I’m learning, is a part of my call. The zing of falling, the dirtied hands, the dirtied business pants and blouses, the scrapes that show people where—and in what shapes—I bleed, is a part of this new path.
It does not mean, however, that I stay lying on the ground, pitying myself in the crackled-ice and bruises.
I reach for the hand that is extended. I get up, albeit messily. I get up and, still slipping, try to find my footing.
Pride is a luxury I no longer have. And though there is a fear and a pain and an uncertainty in slipping on things you don’t always see coming, there is also a kind of freedom found in lying on the ground and laughing; freedom in reaching for the hand that decides to acknowledge your falling.
That is, in all actuality, probably the most freeing thing.
So for now, here’s to the fall–and the slippery “rising”.