Getting up again and again after falling down

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Everyone has broken dreams.

For the Cleveland Indians and their fans, some of their dreams were shattered last weekend at Boston’s Fenway Park.

That’s a minor disappointment compared with what my father endured after his stroke, which robbed him of his speech, mobility and freedom to do much beyond living in his house under 24-hour care.

So much for the dream of a stress-free retirement; welcome to a world of doctors and diapers, of having to take joy from little things such as a card game with a few friends. It’s praying for a phone call from someone who would not become impatient because he couldn’t say much besides, “Oh, man,” in reply.

My wife loves animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but she has allergies and couldn’t do it.

Several years ago, I blew up an important friendship. My apologies were accepted, but the relationship was never the same, not nearly as deep. I didn’t want it to be that way, but I knew I was responsible for what my friend considered breaking a trust.

Sometimes dreams die because life happens — my father’s stroke, my wife’s allergies. Other times, it’s what we’ve done, as was the case with my friend.

That’s why I love the song “We Fall Down,” made popular by Donnie McClurkin.

It begins, “We fall down, but we get up. We fall down, but we get up.”

But here’s the part that I love: “A saint is just a sinner who fell down but got up again.”

Certainly a sin had nothing to do with my father’s stroke, but I remember times when I was helping him dress, and we both fell to the floor. I felt angry, embarrassed. I felt I was failing him.

Usually, he’d shake it off, point at me and then the floor and laugh. He thought it was funny that we both ended up on the floor, like a couple of kids. At least, I think that was it. The stroke had stolen his words.

We fall down, but we get up . . .

I’d stand, grab my dad and together we’d get up . . .

Again.

One of the inspira tions for the song comes from Proverbs 24:16: “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.”

Though our dreams die — seven times, maybe more — we rise again, even if we need someone to help us, as my father did. Of course, his spirit was why I could get up and help him.

Again.

When I read the Bible, I find many stories of people messing up, falling down and then staggering to their feet again. Dreams die, and it seems God has forgotten them.

Paul writes in II Corinthians 4:8: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.”

Anyone caring for a person with serious health problems knows that feeling. Or anyone battling financial troubles. Or anyone fighting to find a job or keep one. There are times when the pressure seems ready to crush us, when we feel not only “struck down” but also destroyed. In that passage, Paul wrote that he could get up again because of the power of Christ within him.

In my case, it often is the dumb stuff that I say or do that gets me into the tight squeeze. That’s when I cry out to God in the lyrics of that song, reminding myself that “a saint is just a sinner who fell down but got up again.”

And again and again.

Getting up again, that’s the real test of faith, and it’s one I battle with every day.

To reach Terry Pluto:

terrypluto2003@yahoo.com, 216-999-4370

Previous columns online:

cleveland.com/columns

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1 Comment »

  1. sam Said:

    amen…


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