From the time I was very young, I have always loved looking at house plans and dreaming of the perfect one. There used to be a new house plan in the Sunday paper each week to daydream about. Although, I don’t see a new house in my future, I still collect house plans on my favorite “social-media-idea-gathering” page. I will scroll through them, and still do a little day-dreaming from time to time. So, on my social media page, as new house plans are presented to me, related to the ones I have already shown interest in, I see a trend that has me puzzled…and one that I have a history with. I have to ask, “Are rounded steps and stairways making a comeback?” Did they ever really go away? Does anyone realize how crazy, dangerous they are for someone with limited vision? Good ole, straight, up and down, regular stairs are challenging enough, without adding a “graceful curve” to provide some type of visual splash. Yea, I’ll give you splash alright!
The craziest things happen around me and to me some times! I had just started working a temp-to-hire job. I had been there for about two weeks. I have a cousin that lives a couple miles away from where I was working. So one afternoon I picked up a fast food lunch salad and headed over to her house. I figured I would have time for a quick visit and still be back to work on time. She lives in a very nice subdivision in a split-level house that sits down over the hill from the road. There is a front courtyard, surrounded by a rock wall that is about three to four feet, I would say. The steps going up to her front door are rounded, with the top step being about the same width as the doorway opening, maybe a little wider. Her foyer is split with a landing and stairs going up and down.
When I got there that afternoon, it looked like she had been working in the yard. There was one of those little garden bed tillers there on the courtyard right beside the steps. I think they are called rotary cultivators. Let’s just say they look like an accident waiting to happen! I had called ahead, but it is still sort of a surprise when you see someone that you have not seen in a very long time. We had the best time. Even though we live within forty minutes of each other, we seem to never see each other or spend time together. It just so happened that her older sister had come by also. We were talking and laughing and remembering old times. I finished my salad and figured I had better get back to work. This was a temporary job that I was hoping would end up being a permanent job. I was still new enough to be trying to make a good impression, so I did not want to be late. As I was getting ready to leave, she was going to walk me to the door. Since she was visiting with her sister, I told them that I would see myself out. We said our goodbyes and promised to try and get together again … soon!
I went down the stairs to the foyer landing. I opened the door and stepped out onto the stoop. I turned around and yelled goodbye one more time up the stairs and closed the door. Having forgotten that I was standing on a “rounded” stoop, I took a step sideways to close the storm door. Much to my surprise, there was nothing there to stand on. So here I am trying to hold onto the storm door handle (at which I failed miserably) and falling at the same time. Somehow, I got turned around and was then falling forward, or maybe backward, no, head first, heck, possibly sideways. Oh my goodness! All I could see was that rock wall coming right at my face! So I did the only thing I could do to try and stop myself from hitting the wall. I put my hands out. Did I happen to mention that the courtyard was concrete? I did manage to slow down the trajectory toward the rock wall. My palms and wrists and knees took the biggest hit. My head did bounce off the concrete of couple of times, but not the rock wall baby!! When I did hit, I went rolling. It stunned me for a moment or two. All I could do was lay there.
Once I saw that I was not mortally injured, I, of course, looked around to see if anyone was watching. I could not see anyone, and since I’d taken a couple of pretty good licks during my acrobatic descent of the stairs, I just lay there and didn’t move for a few minutes. I was not sure I would be able to get up on my own. I was so embarrassed, that when I finally did manage to get up, blood streaming from the layer of peeled-back flesh on my left wrist, I limped back up the driveway to my car and went back to work. (No, I absolutely did not knock on the door and let my cousins know that I’d nearly killed myself on the rounded front steps! I just knew that she would feel horrible…plus, I just could not make the effort.) When I got back to the office, I sat there in my car for a few minutes, not moving.
When I got out of the car and started walking toward the building, I felt something wet on the back of my pants, down my left leg. There was blood on my pants. Oh no! It just hit me in that moment that I’d sent the rotary cultivator, with it’s sharp, steel blades flying across the courtyard as I tripped over it. I figured, at best, that I’d sliced a chunk out of the back of my leg. So, with additional trauma to my psyche, here I go, even more gingerly walking into the building. I went slowly to the bathroom. I dreaded to look. Why do these things always happen to me? Again, if you have been paying attention, my daddy did not name me Grace!
When I got in the bathroom, I looked at the front of me first. I was a bit of a mess. Then I slowly turned around to anxiously take a look. At that point, all I could do was laugh hysterically. If anyone had come into the bathroom then, they would have thought I had lost my mind. No, there was no blood on the back of my pants. The blood on the front had been from my wrist. Oh no, the back was a completely different source. Let’s just say that I hit the ground hard…very hard…a couple of times Apparently my bladder had reacted like a water balloon that is smashed against the concrete, and I did not even realize it at the time!
I went to our Executive Assistant’s office and told her my story and that I needed to go to the store and buy a pair of pants. She told me, that I needed to go to the urgent care clinic and get my wrist taken care of first. So much for making a good impression as the new person at work. I did go buy a new pair of pants (and yes, underwear), then I went to urgent care. There was not a lot they could do. The skin was peeled back from the palm to the wrist. They cleaned it, put a couple of butterfly fasteners on it, wrapped a bandage around it and sent me back to work.
The next morning I felt like I’d been run over by a freight train! When I think about the big splash into my cousin’s courtyard, I wonder why was I was looking around to see if anyone had seen me fall? (I mean, I know that is human nature.) But why would it have mattered to me if someone had witnessed my flight? Heck, I would hope if someone had seen the spectacle, and then saw me just laying there, that they would have come to see if I needed assistance. Just because I did not see anyone does not mean that no one was watching.
That is how it is with the way that we live our lives. Here we are, going along, doing the things that we do, living the life that we live. No matter if we notice them or not, sometimes there ARE people watching. We are not always lucky enough to fall on our face with no one around. They will, ultimately, watch us succeed and watch us fail, watch us stand confidently and watch us falter and fall. What do they see with our Christian witness under those circumstances? How do we handle success? How do we react to struggles and disappointments? What happens when the ground falls out from beneath our feet? Do others see Jesus through the way we live our lives, or do they see us falling (hard) and just staying down? It matters, it matters very much. As hard as it is to get back up sometimes, we need to summon the strength that God puts within us and climb back up and get moving again…maybe moving slow, but moving none-the-less.
Let the strength that others see displayed within you be the strength of Christ!
“People who do not believe are living all around you. They might say that you are doing wrong. So live good lives. Then they will see the good things you do, and they will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again.” (1 Peter 2:12 ICB)
“I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1-2 NIV)