A Story of a Girl, a Bag, and a Fall
Monday April 4, 2022
Several weeks ago, I experienced one of my actual finest moments in 32 years of life. It was a typical Monday at work, except that on my agenda was to make time to take out the trash - a task that should be routine, but one that I inevitably put off by simply shoving down MORE trash with MORE force (a flawless system 🙃). That particular day, after loading a dolly with three full trash cans to take out to the communal bin in the alley behind our unit (oh, the joys of small business life) only to find it overflowing with someone else’s demolition project, I let out a sigh of annoyance and turned my dolly around to lug it up the sloped parking lot and back to our studio.
Suddenly, after having barely made it back to the sidewalk, the trash bin in the middle began to waver, and while I momentarily loosened my grip on the handles so I could reach across the first bin to stabilize the second, the dolly slowly slid out from my one-handed grasp. In an instant, with my left hand trying to grab the rogue trash bin and my right trying to stop the dolly from falling off the curb into the street, I lost my footing under the weight of the whole darn dolly/trashcan situation and fell off the sidewalk and flat on my back onto the street while scraps of trash floated around me from the gust of every passing car. I literally could not make this stuff up - even for a lifelong klutz (hi, me), this was quite the accomplishment.
I picked myself up, as one must after falling onto a busy street with several trash bins and a dolly tumbling after (thank the Lord for bike lanes), reassured the nice man across the street who witnessed the whole thing (yipee) that I was fine (I think?), and proceeded to pick up as many scraps as I could before they blew into the traffic. I made it back to the studio in one piece (phew) and almost immediately noticed the glaring metaphor between my Great Fall, shall we call it, and my actual life: overloaded, overflowing, and me collapsed on my back from trying to keep it all together.
Even as I know the inevitable outcome of this trajectory, I somehow still find myself at this familiar place - feeling squeezed for time, desperate for solitude and stillness. You, too? Sometimes I land here because I’ve been knocked down by too many yeses on our social calendar or a particularly busy work week, other times because my husband’s working four nights in a row and my crazy girls won’t fall asleep before 9 (okay 10) pm. Maybe for you it’s financial pressure, a chronic illness, family drama, a job transition with a steep learning curve. Life is BUSY and impossible to compartmentalize in tidy little boxes (I’ve tried). Whether by our imperfect choices or the ones made for us, we are often pulled by a current that feels oppositional to our sincerest efforts to slow down, to make space.
So. What to do?
Just a day before the Great Fall, we celebrated Pat’s birthday. I bought her a crossbody bag, which in the past 5 years of raising littles together, we have together determined is the bag you need in order to be hands free at ALL TIMES for all the 471847372 needs that arise (crossing streets, collecting shells, opening snacks, getting the pebble out of the shoe, pushing the scooter, etc.!). And that cute little crossbody became a metaphor for the life I want to live - untethered to baggage, available to meet the needs of others, ready for adventure, lightly packed for a freer and fuller life. I’m not quite there at the hands-free-adventure-ready-crossbody stage, but I am also thankfully not where I was, in the collapsed-on-the-street-covered-in-trash phase, either. Here I am in the sometimes painful, always grace-filled middle, the place and process of letting things fall apart and other things come together.
And in another time, another cross and another body. One who, for us, took the Greatest Fall of all time so that we may be truly free, eternally full. An invitation to the wildest adventure of all time. The greatest gift to His beloved, so that whether we are laying in trash, grasping for more stillness, forgetting to call the friend, feeding the newborn for the 1000th time, or buckling under a season of financial strain, we can rest in the certainty that morning comes after the night, that all will be alright.
in process, in progress,
city image source here