For Thirteen years, I was the baby of the family. I was the pesky little sister who wanted attention and to play with my older brother who was three years my senior. He wasn’t interested in dolls, dancing, and entertaining much, so I felt it my duty to initiate him into the world of an “artistic” girl. I would retreat to my room to dress myself in my best costume for the event I was planning, and then after carefully inspecting my outfit for any flaws, I would enter the living room where my brother often was, and turn on music and proceed to dance.
I never had dance lessons, that was obvious, but it did not deter me from pretending I was a magnificent ballet dancer with great flexibility, balance and grace. I would dance with all of my might and emotion becoming lost in the music and inevitably “lost” in the living room. It would often be a piece of furniture that would bring me back to reality as I tripped over the footstool or crashed into the coffee table. I remember falling to the ground on many occasions with bruises and scrapes. I would hear my brother laughing at me from the couch and I would muster up my dignity, stand up, and continue my dance while speaking these words in his direction: “I meant to do that!”
It has been said that “it doesn’t matter how hard you fall, but how you get up and that you get up that matters most”, and I agree whole-heartedly. Getting up is the hardest part about falling. Continuing on after a failure is grueling, yet it is crucial to life. I have also learned, though, that life is supposed to be lived on purpose. Though much of life ebbs and flows like the tides on the shore, often it is the things we did on purpose that matter most.
There are things you work for in life and work hard to guard and keep. Things like friendships, integrity, marriage relationships, health, thankfulness, a life of worship, trust, knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities. Each of these things does not grow or develop by chance, but by purposeful attention and intention at every level. These things are worth having and worth the effort it takes to keep and maintain them.
I’m not saying that every thing we set out to do will look successful, or applaud us. Growth is painful and requires pruning and loss. There is real pain, real tears, and real loss in life, but beauty isn’t random, and a life of beauty is one that is constantly attended, weeded, seeded and guarded. So, I walk in grace and forgiveness because I meant to do that; not because it was easy. If I have a happy heart it is because I meant to do that. If I have genuine friendships it is because I worked at tending them, learned to forgive and learned to love. And if I ever succeed in anything in life or become who I want to be it will be because God is full of grace and makes something beautiful out of all the things I did and didn’t mean to do.