How To Start Again
It has been many weeks since my last post. Unexpected challenges came my way. Wrapped up in my struggle, this blog fell by the wayside. At first I felt guilty about abandoning something that meant so much to me, but I came to realize that this experience is a valuable life lesson about rejuvenating the spirit when it falls down.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
This is a quote that many of us can agree with, nodding our heads and making soft noises of understanding. Yet, when it comes down to facing our own disappointments, our flagging expectations and our dismembered dreams, we don’t seem very good at practicing it. It is sometimes easier to forgive others their foibles, than it is to be kind to ourselves.
St. Peter is referred to as the first “pope” of the Catholic Church. He was one of Jesus Christ’s twelve disciples and a leader in the early Christian church. In the book of Matthew from the Holy Bible, an interesting story is captured about St. Peter. In the last days of Jesus’ life, after he is arrested by the Romans, Peter denies his association with Jesus three separate times. The Bible says that after Peter denies Jesus for the third time, he weeps “bitterly.” I imagine that at that moment, Peter’s spirit has fallen down. He is in the space of struggle, of conflict, of confusion and doubt.
However, the more interesting piece of this story is that Jesus predicted Peter’s denial, yet chose to give Peter leadership over the church that would rise up after his crucifixion. This is a powerful message from one of the most revered spiritual leaders of all time. In a sense, Jesus is telling humankind that falling is inevitable, predictable and, well, nothing to stay groveling over. Falling is a part of our human experience.
Rejuvenating the spirit wouldn’t need to happen if we didn’t have times of struggle. I have written in earlier posts about the importance of dark times and conflict. Yet, the rising to begin again is also significant. Some of us may have fallen down a long time ago and thought we lacked the strength to get back up. Others have gotten back up so many times, just to fall again that they decide to stay down there. This week, ask yourself how much effort you are putting into pulling yourself up. What do you need to give to yourself to get the strength to go on? Forgiveness, kindness, boundaries, permission?
Falling is part of the human experience, but so is getting up again.
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