Sunday, March 21, 2010

Falling into Now

Some years ago, I went to my cabin in the mountains for some quality alone time–no phone, no TV, no kids. Just me and the dog. While I was there I decided that I needed to clean all the pine needles and debris off the roof. I dismissed any hesitance I felt about doing this task when I was alone. I used an extension ladder and a long rake. I was cleaning the very last section of the roof when I felt the ladder slip. I frantically clutched at the roof but there was nothing to hold onto. I knew I was going to fall.

So far it sounds like any bad accident someone who has no business being on a ladder when no one is around might have. But here is where it got interesting. The instant I knew I was going to fall, I let go. I released the fear. Or rather it released me, since I clearly was not doing it deliberately. (At this point, I was not doing anything deliberately.) I was immediately filled with a sense of blissful well-being. Blissful doesn’t even begin to describe it. I don’t know words in any language to describe it. It was like being cradled in the arms of angels. Rapture. Perfection.

I was conscious as I tumbled. I felt my body bounce off the ladder on the way down. I felt my back hit the edge of the deck, and then I flipped off the deck to the ground below and slid to a stop. But all the way down, I was absolutely certain that everything was exactly the way it should be. I knew that my body might be hurt. I expected that at the least something would be broken. Maybe I would be paralyzed or even die. No problem. I was in heaven.

When I came to a stop, I lay there without moving for awhile. The thought crossed my mind that if I tried to move, I might find out that I couldn’t. I felt no pain–maybe a bad sign. I wasn’t in heaven anymore. I was lying on the side of a hill with my dog. I love my dog but she is no hero, and I knew I was on my own if I needed help. Finally, I started trying to see what would move. Fingers, toes, arms, legs. I slowly got to my feet, marveling that everything seemed to be intact and functioning (although I was scratched up and sore for days after).

I gingerly climbed back up the hill and sat on the deck. My mind started to go to all the scary what if places. But I stopped. I had been given an exquisite gift. Two gifts, really. First, the experience itself. Second, the memory of it.

I haven’t had an experience quite like that since, and I have wisely stayed off ladders. But the memory reminds me that now is always here. And that now is perfect. Now is the holy instant, the doorway to our ultimate happy place. And while I don’t suggest that anyone go flying off a roof to find it, we can pause at any time and take a deep breath to enter the gate.


  1. Galen -
    I so agree with you. I have the most peace in my life when I live in the moments--rather than replaying the pain and grief of the past or wishing and dreaming about the future. It is like falling into grace and peace. --ELizabeth

  2. This comment was emailed to me by a reader who had trouble posting a comment. From deedee: "What a wonderful way to illustrate being here now. Thank you for sharing your experience. Beautifully written, too!"

  3. I know it’s Sunday morning – a long time since “Walking With Him Wednesday”. But it took a long time to get through the “Multitude Monday” posts – and still didn’t get past 140 or so.

    Wow, as you put it so well – “a holy instant” – petic – and true. And so wise to know that we can “pause at any time and take a deep breath to enter the gate.” Amen – so so true.

    I was blessed by your words today. Thank you.

    God be with you and yours


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