I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where we are visiting with Calvin and his family. We came to see our Luke and Ariel in their senior recital. This trip was very intentional, and it is always a delight to see our family.
But yesterday I took a trip that was totally unintentional. We were shopping at a mall near here. We felt smug because we found a handicap parking space just a few steps away from the door. There are a few perks to getting old and decrepit--not many--but a few. Striding doward Dillard's archway we had to step up a curb from the parking lot drive, but my foot didn't quite make the clearance. My sandal kicked the curb, but my body was already committed to the motion and was depending on the new position of my foot in order to remain erect. It was one of those moments that happened in an instant, but lingers in slow motion in the memory. Thanks to this enormous pillow just below my rib cage, my fall was broken with a cushioned bounce. Suddenly I was examining the space between shoes and pavement. My face hit the sidewalk, but very gently. Even my hands which I put out to break my fall were barely skinned. I wasn't sure just what I wanted to do about this, so I laid there for a few moments. "What happened?" my Barbara asked. Now in this spread eagle position of abject embarrassment she could have said anything, and it would have angered me. What she did say was as benign as any other choice of comments, but it provoked mental filtering of my sarcasm file. "I dropped an epithelial and tried to catch it before it hit the ground." "Didn't you know I have a practice of tasting the dust of every town we visit?" But instead I simply said, "What kind of question is that?" Before I could muster a more potent barrage of verbal sardonics to cover my embarrassment, I saw a rescue team out of the corner of my eye. Two ladies--sweet, southern thirty-somethings--left their car and came running to assist me. It's not that easy to lift me from the pavement, unless they have been pumping iron routinely. So the process was slow and awkward. I thanked them and they were on their way, solicitously asking assurance that I was alright.
When we sinners are plagued with the temptation of pride, the Lord finds it necessary to humble with a fall or two. Sometimes with a literal fall.