“Help! Help! I’ve Fallen”

Remember the old TV commercial that used the phrase, “Help! Help! I’ve fallen!” to advertise a device to help seniors notify someone if they were in trouble?  Well, I didn’t have the device, but I did have the fall a couple of weeks ago while walking down stairs in our home and talking on a cordless phone.  (A guaranteed recipe for potential disaster if you are not carefully monitoring your feet).  I ended up with a severely broken ankle, and wearing what feels like an 80-pound boot all day, every day.

So here I am today, June 3rd, my 76th birthday, keeping weight off my ankle while elevating it as much as possible, and icing it three times a day. To quote the late Jackie Gleason, I’m saying to myself, “what a revolting development this is!”

As one gets older, they might ask what is the meaning of all this.  As I reflect on my state of relative immobility, I think about an old rabbinic teaching that says the first question you will be asked in heaven is NOT about all the sins you may have committed, but instead what legitimate pleasures did you forgo during your time on earth.

I could have been on a golf course the afternoon I fell, but instead I had been working in my study.  Though I am the last person on our planet to be called a good golfer, I do greatly enjoy the game.  But I have not been on a course in about 18 months.  Why? Because I have been too busy!

How many others are like myself, just too busy to relax and enjoy life?  Whenever possible, could we not try to take better hold of those moments that offer us a taste of the joys of existence?  Perhaps the little girl in the paragraph below has a lesson for us all.

A police officer was visiting a kindergarten class and was trying to explain to the class what police officers did.  In his presentation, he showed the class pictures of the 10 most wanted.  One of the little girls in the class raised her hand and asked, “Are those mean people?”  “Yes,” the officer said, “very mean, and we are going to catch them.”  The little girl paused for a moment, and said, “well, why didn’t you hold on to them when you were taking their picture?”

Something to think about.


2 Responses »

  1. Gareth Young says:

    Happy birthday!

    I wonder if this “being too busy” we talk about so much is not a cause but an effect. I wonder if the real issue underneath it is the tendency to not live a mindful life of awareness but rather one in which we allow circumstances to jerk us around such that we give up such limited control of our lives as we humans can have. I wonder if the real issue here isn’t mindfulness.

    There is a profound pleasure between joy and pleasure which I’ve written about a lot. Pleasure is the momentary satisfaction that comes from a good meal, a movie, or perhaps a round of golf; joy, on the other hand, is the state of being that comes from being comfortable in one’s skin and paying attention to what is really going on. Pleasure is what one experiences during the “good moments” of a life led without mindfulness, whereas joy is a deep and abiding senses of well-being that can exist independent of circumstances which is cultivated by taking spiritual control of one’s life.

    The real story in this post, for me, is the importance of not holding on, of recognizing that in truth we cannot, It is about the opportunity to use the forced rest and pain of a broken ankle as the space and sharp edge respectively through which to find gratitude and love and to cultivate a deep sense of being and joy independent of circumstances.

    I wish you well in your recovery and much joy during it.

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