“Everybody falls. It’s all in how you get back up.” These were the words of a beautiful, sweet-natured young woman, just 34 years old, who had been injured several years ago while snow-boarding. Interestingly, she had already been snow-boarding with friends earlier that day on a different mountain, in a different state, and was on her way home. They decided to stop for one last run on one last mountain. She knew that she should not do it; that she was tired, but she allowed herself to be persuaded. Heedless to her intuition—her internal warning center—she snowboarded anyway, and broke her neck. Now, multiple surgeries later, she was my patient for several days.
In caring for her, I was struck by her patience, perseverance, and tolerance for pain and annoyance that all comes with having surgery and being stuck in the hospital. She patiently endured all that we had to do to her and really only asked for help when she needed it, cooperating with her care for her greater benefit.
When it came time for her to be discharged, I found to my surprise that the Angels had arranged for me to take her to the lobby in a wheelchair, while her husband went ahead to get the car. While waiting in the lobby, I was moved to comment on her patience with her situation and the graciousness with which she was coping with her current lot in life. She told me that it hadn’t been easy, but she has learned to take one day at a time.
“And,” she said, “everybody falls. It’s all in how you get up.”
Her words gave me chills and I realized that I was in the presence of someone who had much to offer us with her simple words. It is, indeed, true that everybody falls. All of us have had bigger or larger problems with which to cope, some of them devastating. Life does it to everybody, no matter how rich, poor, well, ill, beautiful or fugly, fat or thin. What really contributes to our growth is how we get back up. Do we whine and cry, shaking our fist at an uncaring Universe, feeling very picked-on and abandoned? (this one is my personal favorite) Do we, like this young woman, do what we need to do, giving gratitude for what we have and taking one day at a time? (I’m working toward this…) Do we blame anyone and everyone for our misfortune, conveniently forgetting that we create everything and everyone around us?
After multiple surgeries, this young woman has had plenty of opportunities for getting back up graciously and it truly shows. She radiated a sweet kindness that is not often seen with people who have been in constant pain. Perhaps this is what Edgar Cayce had in mind as an effect when he counseled us to be patient and persevering, and, above all, long-suffering. Since Life gives us plenty of opportunities to be long-suffering, we may as well make the best of it. This, in turn, will bring out the best in us and, surprisingly, in those around us. Getting back up with dignity and graciousness is what it’s all about. I hope to remember that the next time I’m face-down in some situation.