Let it fall

November 30, 2015

Every year at least one breakable item in my kitchen meets its end. The cause of death is usually a fall to the kitchen floor, and I am usually the perpetrator. One morning recently, before leaving the house to teach a yoga class, my elbow grazed the handle of a glass mug. So began its descent to a crash.

Thankfully, the mug was inexpensive, and there was no sentimental value attached to it. I placed the larger chunks of glass in a paper bag and swept the smaller parts into a dustpan. I had plenty of time before class and took my time recovering pieces from the fall. I got on my hands and knees. My eyes scanned the kitchen floor slowly, in search of delicate slices of glass. I ran my fingers over the tiles' grout, waiting for a pierce.

The yoga class that I'd planned for that day focused on grounding and balancing. As we built our way into Warrior III, a pose that requires standing on one foot at a time, I watched the students shake and waver. I thought of how desperately they were trying not to fall. I thought of how desperately I did not want for them to fall. They reached for nearby walls and quickly put the other foot down to avoid tumbles. I reminded them to breathe, noticing the strain on faces. Sometimes we're so busy fighting the falls of life that we neglect what we need most.

When we finally reached the time for resting pose, they happily sunk onto their backs, and my thoughts returned to the falling mug. I remembered a similar incident from a few years ago, when I stumbled while eating grapes out of a bowl. The grapes and bowl were not the only broken and bruised pieces that day. That particular bowl had special meaning for me. I naively tried to restore it. After doctoring scrapes on my knee and wrist, I tried to reattach the three ceramic chunks with a hot glue gun. Like the yoga students standing on one foot, I was determined that this bowl would not "fall" for good. Eventually, I had to let it go, too.

Nobody wants to fall and possibly break a bone.

Nobody wants their favorite things to fall and break.

And nobody really wants to start the day by picking a broken cup off the kitchen floor.

Yet falling is part of life—and a large part of the disciple's life:

I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their lives will lose them, and those who hate their lives in this world will keep them forever. (John 12:24–25, Common English Bible)

A sacrificial life of service to Jesus Christ requires us to let things fall sometimes. We often hear the saying, "Let go, and let God." But I would add to that, "Let it fall." Let the broken pieces of our lives fall. Let the fight to be in control fall. Let the resentment fall. Let the past fall. Let even the good memories of that favorite bowl fall so that new life can emerge. 

One of the best songs I've heard in recent years is "Let It Fall," by Over the Rhine. I hope that if you listen to it, you will fall into resting pose like my yoga students did. After fighting potential tumbles for an hour, they happily "fell" onto their backs for prayer and meditation. In the falling, we let go. In the falling, we let God. In the falling, we rise with Christ to new heights. 

Originally posted at Duckworth's blog