What is important?

Yesterday a colleague and I were walking back from a meeting when I stepped on a very hard, round acorn on the sidewalk. Much like stepping on a marble… I felt my ankle twist, I fought for my balance, and then hit the sidewalk pretty hard. The result was a skinned knee and a scraped elbow. Oh, and not a little embarrassment. After checking that there was nothing truly wrong, I got back to my feet. My friend picked up my tea from the sidewalk, and then, once he knew I was OK, he chuckled. I had slammed to the sidewalk without spilling my drink or losing my cigarette.

I have to think – what is wrong with this picture? I’m scraped up and my ankle is a bit sore, but my drink and my smoke are in fine shape. Somehow, I think I’m too attached to caffeine and nicoteine. After all, in the flash of the moment of falling, that’s what I protected.

It’s happened before. I’ve been shown what I care most about. When I was accompanied in to my house that had burned the night before, I recall that the first thing that popped out was — “My guitar is in there!” Granted, I knew that my family was unharmed, so that wasn’t an issue. But, of all the items that had been in the house, the first thing that raced to the front of my “concern line” was my guitar. And the same seems to have been true when I took a tumble in the choir loft at church which resulted in a swollen knee, but a completely unscathed guitar.

I take some comfort in the realization that these moments of light also reflect that I never questioned God’s love for me. I never cursed (and believe me, I am capable of that). But, it’s interesting to know what things I cling to a protect. Are these objects and habits a part of my identity? It seems so.

And so, I have some work to do. It’s not comfortable to think that a cigarette and a glass of tea might be more important than a kneecap or an elbow.

Thank God that with my unstable balance and my seemingly weak ankle, I’ve learned to fall gracefully. I just hope I’ve not learned to fall from grace.

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