Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community
You Fall, You Get Back Up by Susan Freiband
(This reflection is based on a writing exercise led by Rabbi Gilah Langner, part of a Rosh Chodesh ELUL
Gathering held August 28, 2022.)
Among the themes of the current month of ELUL are taking stock, accounting, reexamining the past year, where we’ve fallen short, what we’ve accomplished, how we’ve managed to move through difficult times, what’s needed to prepare for the High Holy days. Sometimes it’s not easy to know how, why and when you’ve fallen down, or gotten back up. After all, falling down and getting up are part of everyday living.
When we are not paying attention, we may not notice times we fall back on old habits, ways of acting or reacting that haven’t really worked. When we recognize old patterns, negative ways of thinking or acting, we need to make a shift, to fall down and get back up in a different or changed way. When this happens, things around us become transformed. They shift in new ways. We move in a different direction. Sometimes we trip, lose our balance, don’t fall down completely, regain a renewed sense of balance.
All this is part of being aware, awake and fully alive. Falls, trips, shifts happen more often as the body ages, in elder years. Sometimes the process of falling down and getting back up requires help, assistance from others, which may be difficult to recognize and ask for, but is important to do. The process involves evaluating options, making choices and decisions, that clearly impact feelings, thoughts and actions.
The process of falling down, then getting up, becomes part of growing and learning; of gaining life experience. As we age, it becomes more important to harvest and share this experience, along with the clarity, insight and wisdom gained from it. In this way, we live a more meaningful and satisfying life, as well as leave a legacy that makes a difference.