A Note on Falling and Not Giving Up
This February, a couple of things on the news caught my attention, since they both had to do with extraordinary and powerful people leaving their positions. First, the Pope left Vatican city , because of the multitude of scandals. Second, the Bulgarian Prime Minister resigned from his post, leaving the government in turmoil in the state of national protests and crisis.
These two cases got me thinking about the notions of falling (from grace) and giving up in troubled times. So if history is to repeat itself, we better know know of and be stronger than those who came before us, and not repeat their mistakes.
Except falling from grace, surely you can think of at least a few more meanings of the verb ‘fall’. One may fall into place and finally feel like they belong somewhere. One may fall over oneself to achieve something and be enthusiastic about an initiative or opportunity on the exiting path ahead. One may find friends to fall back on, friends who will be there when times get tough. Of course, among the most common (figurative) meanings are ‘fall for’ and ‘fall in love with’ someone – that wonderful bubbly feeling of free fall into a sea of cotton candy, of having butterflies in your stomach, and of being ligher than a feather. However, there is no safety net to catch you when you fall – or at least it may not be the net you have expected. Still, don’t be afraid of falling just because you’ll have to pick yourself up.
I recently saw the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (and I recommend it sincerely, despite some scenes at the fish market which mildly disturbed me), about Jiro, the only sushi chef to receive three stars from Michelin. One of the reasons for his success is his devotion and the love he feels for his work. Here’s a lesson they should teach in school: if you love what you do, the chances of success are much higher and getting higher every day that you spend treating that certain subject with positivity and care. Similarly, I believe that the warmer we are toward the world and to the people around us, especially those who matter and whom we care about, life will be a little bit better every day. If some days we feel like leaving everything all behind, giving up on an activity or on someone who was important to us, we should not be too quick to judge.
Building something takes a lot more time than destroying, but the more time it takes us, the more care that goes into that process, the more likely it is that we will want to keep what we made. “The opposite of war isn’t peace,” Rent preaches. “It’s creation.” Isn’t it a wonderful thought? Love, affection, care, sympathy – that’s our strength to build and create, our possibility to leave a mark in the world.
Humans, mortals, such beautiful, beautiful creatures, Macon Ravenwood would say, and the Doctor would echo this thought from the annals of time. People truly are a great “race” – we are known for our compassion and strength, for helping others, for expressing our feelings through arts and crafts, our universal language, for having stopped eating meat (or for loving it…), for holding peace talks, for being in love, for being good friends, for nurturing our families and for being selfless because of all those we love.As Mr. Septimus Hodge once said in Tom Stoppard’s wondrous play Arcadia, “We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it.” So if we fall, if we lose ourselves along the way, there will be those who will pick us up, put us back together, and who knows, perhaps we’d be even better off than we were before. So don’t give up as you’re falling, because the Fall might turn out to be more exciting and more refreshing than you’ve thought. And even if you break a wing once you hit the ground, it will heal. If you give up mid-flight, however, you won’t be able to tell whether you’ll fall to the ground of you’ll fly.