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Taking the first step

2015-08-26 08:18

A young jogger tripped and fell on the uneven road surface. Embarrassment rather than her lack of injury quickly forced her to stand up and continue on her way. 


During the course of life there are many times when we fall.  Sometimes it’s an actual physical tumble that leaves residues of skin and blood in just the places where they are not meant to be, with bits of gravel creating patterns on rather sore knees. 

Some falls appear to be life-threatening but, in reality, leave little damage. A man and his nine-year-old son went hiking in the snow-covered Cairngorms. To his absolute horror, the father saw the boy fall more than three hundred feet over a concealed cliff edge.  Expecting to see the child’s broken body far below him, when the father looked over the cliff, he found his son had fallen into a small pool of water and sat, safe and sound, at the water’s edge.  He survived with only a cracked elbow to show for his fall!

The falls that cause most harm are the ones that hurt us inside, often where nobody can see.  Those are often the most difficult ones. They are the ones when it can take great courage to stand up again.  Yet, without that inner strength, it will not be possible to walk.

I once had the privilege of watching a paralysed man walk for the first time, thanks to a cumbersome experimental gadget strapped around his waist. An electric current stimulated leg muscles that everybody had thought could no longer respond to stimuli. The man, paralysed from the waist down, was exhausted and dripping with perspiration from the effort, but he had walked against all predictions.  Those who watched also wept for joy. 

It is wonderful to see someone convert failure into success, but the conversion doesn’t necessarily have to be something that the rest of the world will measure.  The jogger pulled herself up and continued running.  The paralysed man walked for about twenty paces. For some, the measure of success might be as simple as learning to eat a previously disliked food.  In the global arena, this might not seem very important, but to the individual, it could be an amazing achievement.  

There is a Chinese proverb that says that a journey of one thousand miles starts with a single step.  It is that first step which needs the most courage, strength and determination. We’ve all learned to walk.  A toddler falls many times.  Sometimes it laughs.  Sometimes it cries…but it learns.

As the saying goes:  Don’t walk ahead of me: I might not follow.

                                 Don’t walk behind me: I might not lead.
                                 Just walk beside me and be my friend.


Remember the Footsteps in the sand story?

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