Have you ever had a moment where you tripped or fell and clumsily hit the ground? We all have at some point. In fact, don’t we kind of stumble through life?
When I was working at my first “real” job out of college – you know, the kind that you call a career rather than a job – I was taught a life lesson I have not forgotten to this day. In fact, it will stay with me until I depart this world of dirt.
The receptionist, whom I was friends with, was walking through the common entry way that had offices surrounding it with a stack of papers. All of the sudden, she went airborne and into a door frame. Papers were gliding to the ground in a smooth, left-to-right arced motion. And the sound was the crash-type of noise you only hear in a cartoon. The whole scene looked like a cartoon!
Rather than immediately help her like I should have, I broke into a laughter. She was okay, just a little frazzled and embarrassed. I figured since we were friends, she would have had the same reaction had it been me. That’s when I saw the look on her face. Then I knew something was not right.
Upon analyzing the situation and yes, going over and helping her get up and pick up the papers, her eyes caught mine as we were both on all fours on the floor and I could see a tear form, then trickle down her cheek. I asked if she was going to be alright. Then, she hit me with it. She said she had not told anyone at work because she didn’t want to be treated differently. What she told me was she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This is a disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain and from the brain to the body. Balance can be one thing affected by the debilitating disease.
After opening up about it, she felt a little better. But I didn’t. After some alone time soul searching in my office, I decided I needed to be more aware of my surroundings and both my actions and reactions. I wasn’t in high school (or college) any more and it was time I matured. I was mad at myself, but more upset for her. She was the one who would have to deal with MS for the rest of her life. I could overcome being a jerk. And, no doubt, there would be others just like me who don’t ever make it easy – whether intentional or unintentional. I learned from that encounter, but not everyone does.
Every time I read Psalm 66:9, I think of her. When I moved to another state, we did not keep in touch, but I do think back to how she taught me to be a better person through situational compassion. Each individual situation deserves understanding leading to compassion. I stumbled that day more than she did. She stumbled through her adversity. I stumbled into compassion.
We stumble through adversity, but when we put our trust in the Lord, our lives are His. When residing in His hands, we have Him to hold us up. And that’s all we need.