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I came to terms long ago with the fact that I’m not going to stride through life.  I have watched the striders with no small amount of envy.  They seem to simply step over life’s hurdles without losing a beat.  These karmic titans have a confidence and determination beyond my grasp.  They are resourceful and quick-thinking.  They see problems as opportunities and opportunities as the fuel to continue ever forward.  I don’t know if they were born this way or they are privy to some secret I have yet to discover.  As I said I envy them . . . their strength, their success, their competence and their power.

I’ve known people that wander through life and once thought myself to be one of them.  When wanderers come up against a barrier, they turn right or left or go back.  When necessary, they leave the path undaunted and meander until a way presents itself.  It may take them longer, but they always find their way sooner or later.  They often learn more on their circuitous course than those taking a more direct route.  Life has a way of making them wiser for their travels and provides them a calm serenity that makes their passage look somehow easier.

I have even known a few folks that float along their feet never touching the ground.  I’ve seen that which they need miraculously provided time and time again through no effort of their own.  I don’t really begrudge the floaters this ease as I’m aware they don’t learn to overcome adversity and someday there will be an obstruction they can’t glide over.  Some very small number of them never experience tribulation and they appear to exist inside the glamour of a fairy tale or sweet dream.  The rest are inevitability crushed when faced with hardship . . . their psyche too fragile to suffer the rigors of harsh realities.

I’ve had association with those unfortunate enough to fight every moment cradle-to-the-grave.  My heart goes out to them.  They throw themselves against each obstacle repeatedly until they batter it down.  They charge headlong through their misfortunes emerging bloodied and bruised, but emerging nonetheless.  They are the warriors that frequently blaze the trail for others to follow.  They are courageous and fearless and selfless.  Even when they end their journey tired or broken, their valor must be respected and we should all give thanks they are in the world to lead the way for those of us lesser beings.

Then there are those that stumble through life.  They take a stride or two, only to falter.  They wander, only to become lost.  They leap attempting to float, only to crash.  They beat their heads against the proverbial wall, only to knock themselves silly.  Mostly, stumblers fall.  It’s what they do.  They often bounce up after a tumble quickly dusting themselves off and assuring others everything is okay.  At other times, they are more like a brain-bruised boxer that doesn’t know the knock-out punch has been delivered and stagger back to their feet only to fall down again.  Stumblers are easily distinguished by the bloody scrapes on their hands and knees.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.  It sure feels like I can’t get up, but I know I’m a stumbler.  I’m not bright enough to throw in the towel, so I’ll lay here for the start of the count resting a bit.  I’ll be on my knees by the count of eight and manage to get my feet under me before the count reaches ten, because — as every stumbler knows — part of falling down is getting back up.

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June 2023