Saturday, March 14, 2009

falling on your face

I have a dear, dear friend who tells me she doesn't trust anyone who hasn't had 'their face on the pavement'. I know what that means and suspect you do too. If you haven't been to that place that makes you sing (like the 60's song) "I've been down so G** D*** long, it looks like Up to me, then you probably have issues with the usual inconsistancies and problems of life as it is.

Then there is the conceit in the Old Testament that whenever an Angel or "the Holy" shows up, people "fall on their faces". That doesn't mean taking an attitude of worship, by the way. The Hebrew word is more like "get knocked down". Being in the presence of the Holy simply sweeps your feet from beneath you and you sprawl out on the ground.

Last night, walking my dog, we went down a little paved area that leads to the Congregational Church parking lot. It was stone cold dark, but I walk that road a lot so I wasn't worried. Besides, when they replaved the area last fall, they took out the speed bumps that used to trip me from time to time. On the way back through darkness as dark as the black almost to blue color of my my Puli dog, I discovered much to my surprise, that there was an unremoved piece of speed bump and I tripped over it in my sandals (the weather up to 20 F at night now), let go of the leash, dogged the dog and fell on my face. I hurt each wrist a little breaking my fall, but my forehead and nose hit a rock that the folks who live beside this access road have put up to keep people from driving on their yard. I didn't break my glasses, but I busted my nose and smashed my forehead into the moss covered rock. (I know it's moss covered since I visited it this morning looking for 'trace evidence' of my fall!)

It would be a much more interesting story if I had been visited by an angel or gotten beaten up in a bar fight ("you should have seen the other guy!")

As it was, I just fell on my face and since face and head wounds bleed like crazy, I was like a character out of Friday the Thirteenth, which, oddly enough, it was....I was all ready to warn Bern that it looked worse than it was when she saw me and then took tender, wondrous care of me.

There are three times in the 14 stations of the cross when Jesus falls. My fall was nothing so dramatic or important as that. But I fell and was bleeding like a stuck pig (I've never understood that figure of speech) when I got home. Bern nursed me and cared for me and we still go to watch the West Virginia University/Syracuse University semi-final in the Big East tourneyment.

Several people asked me today, "which emergency room did you go to?" and I responded, "there was a WVU basketball game on TV--you have to have some priorities...."

I will be fine--a little more humility (I need all that I can get) and another (as if I needed one) insight into my mortality. My wrists ache as I type this, but if they hadn't broken my fall a bit, I might not be typing this at all.

Human heads and big honking moss covered rocks about 90 pounds do not meet without violence.

Bela, my dog, sat and waited for me to find my sandals, somehow get up, find his leash and lead him home. I wonder what he was thinking--but wondering what animals are thinking will send you over the edge....

Face on a rock is surely in the same category as 'face on the pavement'. Humility and pain aren't a bad couple for Friday 13th or for Lent, when you think of it.

I just wish there was a better story to tell about my wounded and swollen visage.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.