Falling Up the Stairs Instead of Down

Spirituality, Therese of Lisieux, Marge Fenelon

I suppose you could say it’s better to have fallen up the stairs than down.

One could argue that the damage would likely have been much greater tumbling downward. But, tell that to my smarting knee and sore back. They really don’t give a whip which way I fell.

I fell. They’re in pain. That’s all that matters.

My pride’s a bit hurt as well.

It was one of those dumb things that, after the fact, you realize easily could have been avoided. Truly, I could have spared myself the inconvenience of having to hobble around my house and take frequent breaks to apply iceĀ  and heat to the injured areas. All I had to turn was turn on the stairwell light and watch where I was stepping instead of assuming I could just find my way in the dark.

Well, I can’t find my way in the dark, and now I’m paying for it in doses of ibuprofen and wasted time.

Not unlike my spiritual life, except for the medication and ice packs.

It’s usually when I think I can move through the darkness that I fall the hardest. Then I’m left in bewildered pain.

Instead of turning on the Light, I stubbornly try to make my way through unaided. The results are almost always a calamity. The energy I spend in trying to recover could have been better spent in moving ahead in my spiritual growth.

If I’d just pause, reflect, and pray for God’s grace, I’d avoid the fall entirely.

The idea of preferring to fall up rather than down applies spiritually, too. I’d rather stumble trying to reach the heights of God’s love and grace than tumbling down away from his grace and toward what lies below.

I love this quote from St. Therese of Lisieux:

“You make me think of a little child that is learning to stand but does not yet know how to walk. In his desire to reach the top of the stairs to find his mother, he lifts his little foot to climb the first stair. It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he falls. Well, be this little child: through the practice of all the virtues, always lift your little foot to mount the staircase of holiness, but do not imagine that you will be able to go up even the first step! No, but the good God does not demand more from you than good will. From the top of the stairs, He looks at you with love. Soon, won over by your useless efforts, He will come down Himself and, taking you in His arms, He will carry you up… But if you stop lifting your little foot, He will leave you a long time on the ground.” ( – St. Therese of Lisieux, Counsels and Reminiscences)

The mistake I make when climbing the stairs spiritually is that I forget – or refuse – to call upon my heavenly Father to have pity and come down to get me. And when I fall, I get discouraged or disgruntled and decline to try again for fear of failure.

I pray that the next time I head up the stairs – either physically or spiritually – I’ll remember first to turn on the Light first.

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