Kim and I went hiking this morning. It was a beautiful Colorado summer day: flowers blooming, birds trilling, dozens of dragonflies darting overhead, when all of a sudden, I lost my footing and fell to the ground…
I wasn’t hurt, but as I laid there on the ground (because it was a real fall, with tumbling and parts of me in contact with the Earth that aren’t usually), I realized how seldom we DO fall, but how quickly, if I am not vigilant, if the conditions aren’t just right, if some other force is in place, I can lose my upright position.
As is often the case, my mind, after I had dusted myself off and checked for any permanent damage, started to consider the metaphorical possibilities of my stumble. And, unfortunately, I ended up thinking about the current political and moral dilemmas we are facing in our country. Some might say, as a country, we haven’t actually fallen, that maybe we are just stumbling. Then there are those others that, in denial or even with just a different perspective would say we are standing taller than ever. While I respect the right of that different perspective, when you take self-serving agendas out of the equation and put morality and civility up front, your argument is going to die on the vine.
I’m not sure why I fell; I’ve gotten pretty good over the years of fighting the forces of gravity and maintaining a sense of balance. When I look at why WE have fallen, it’s much more complex and multi-layered. It would seem that some of the forces that are usually tempered by a basic sense of goodness have gotten emboldened and more assertive. Maybe a pendulum has swung a little too far in the direction of ME over US.
My fall was minor; I was able to quickly regain my bearings and was more conscious of my steps the rest of the way home. More aware of what it takes to keep me upright, and not taking for granted that each step I take will land me on firm footing and not some renegade rock whose purpose it is to bring me down to its level.
I realize I am running the risk of beating this falling metaphor to death (and it may already be too late…) All I would like to suggest is that, going forward, we more deliberately
measure our steps.
And try to do what is necessary to keep us upright…