Yesterday while I was walking down the hallway, I fell. It was without warning and certainly not something I would have preferred to do. The upside was that I was at the hospital already just heading to an appointment. The downside was that I forgot how to get back up. It’s not that my brain was confused beyond the point of where I realized I had impacted the tile floor, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get back up. Then I was faced with a decision, sit there on the floor trying to maintain a small sense of dignity or grab a railing and pull my butt off the ground.
It could have been seconds or minutes before someone walked up to me and asked of they could help. The fogginess in my head had me just nodding my head in some direction. I don’t know if it was up and down, or left and right. So this nice lady just sat down next to me and waited for me to speak. Maybe she saw some confusion on my face or maybe she just saw that there was some fear that if I did stand up again, I might drag us both to the ground. So we sat. For a while. I missed my appointment.
She said all of the right things, offered to go get different help if I thought I needed it. But I just continued my silence while we sat there. People now walking by and being gently waved off when they asked if they could help. At some point a wheelchair showed up for me to be made slightly more comfortable while other tried to convince me to go get my head looked at. I smiled and laughed it off, but inwardly was glad that someone had taken the time to just rest a hand on my shoulder and ask.
I’m a big fan of letting people fail at a given task. Not something that is going to hurt them, nothing dangerous, but I have always figured that they are going to gain more by learning it for themselves than having me do it for them. That’s why I just let my nephew fall of his bike, asked him if he was okay and then told him to get back at it. I took my ex shopping for tires for her car, knowing that she was going to get frustrated. But I knew if I did it for her, she wouldn’t gain that relationship with the retailer. One that paid off well for her.
Failure is part of life. Falling down and wondering how to get back up, wondering if you should get back up is a major theme. The world does at times give you more than you can handle, regardless of some platitude saying otherwise. People do need help, I just seem to have forgotten how to ask. So I sit on the floor trying to understand what I can do next!
With all that life has handed me this past year and a half, I have pushed away everyone so that they no longer have to worry about me. Ran away to find a fix that I’m not sure I couldn’t have gotten while sitting on my couch. I’m so afraid of hurting someone that I’m hurting myself in ways that are going to be more permanent than any disease is going to inflict on me. I may have been on the floor in that hallway, but I am also still sitting on that floor while writing this.
Eventually I got down that hallway to my appointment, they had heard that I was the guy on the floor. So they waited, just asked the next person if they were ready to go. Life moving forward because it has to.
While we figured out that I just got dizzy from not eating enough and medications doing their best, I can’t help but wonder about the woman who sat there with me. She wasn’t nervous, didn’t get irrational about my not being able to talk, she just offered a hand to a guy who had fallen. In the end I returned her smile and went behind the door.
There are going to be times when help is just going to materialize before your eyes. Some person who extends a hand and keeps it there. The lesson I’m trying to remember is that I can reach out and take it. Allow them to do for me something simple, genuine. The world has enough darkness I keep forgetting that simple rays of light do exist and sometimes they just want to help pick you off the floor.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take It From Me.”