Monday, June 29, 2009


Every joint in my body stiffened as I crawled out of bed this morning. Especially my shoulders. I never realized how much I take my shoulders for granted. Not today, though. They intensely punished me as I raised my arms to tie my hair up, to dress, to open and close the doors, to drive, and now, even after taking a couple of Advil, to type. The pain was so bad I nearly called off work today; but I knew that if I stayed home I would be in pain AND feel sorry for myself. So here I am, sitting at my desk, getting work done and not letting my body defeat me.

My terrible pain and stiffness is the repercussion of an embarrassing fall I took off the back steps Saturday afternoon. The pain gets worse after a couple of days before it gets better. I fortunately didn’t break any bones or suffer a more serious injury. I was still agile enough to turn a little bit to my left so I wouldn’t fall on my face. I’m not exactly sure how I lost my balance and fell, but I suspect it was a combination of the heat, the paint fumes (we were painting our garage) my general klutziness, and, most importantly, my being in a big hurry to get back outside after wasting about 20 minutes on a couple of Facebook applications.

Considering how much damage I could have done to myself, I decided that I need to not race down steps anywhere from now on. I've been thinking about how I landed--on my left hand, arm and side. As a guitarist, I depend on my arms and hands. Had I broken any bone in either one of my hands or arms, what would that have done to my music? My hands and arms are far to valuable to be lost to my carelessness.

As I look more deeply into my graceless swan dive into concrete, I realize that at the time, I could have just blamed something else. My back steps don’t have a hand rail; the steps have a slight lean; plus the back door sticks a little. And my husband hasn't put up a hand rail, leveled the back steps or fixed the back door. These thoughts never once crossed my mind, though, because I would have been laying the blame for my fall right on my husband. It's not his fault I'm a terrible klutz. Plus, making him my fall-fallguy doesn't change what happened, and would only hurt his feelings, or possibly tick him off.

I did, however, consider blaming the dog (don’t laugh, she was tied up right there in the back yard and lying beside the back steps). Would my husband have thought twice about the fact that Roxy, my rambunctious pit bull/lab mix, got underfoot and took me out? It was a definite probability, as she's up our butts every second of the day, and Roxy has clotheslined me several times with her runner leash. She loves to race across the yard to keep up with me wherever I happen to be walking. But as fast as the thought jumped into my mind, that’s how fast I dismissed it.

Blaming someone or something else doesn't erase the fact that I fell; it only causes more pain, more grief, more injury. Plus I would feel worse about myself, because I've now done something to hurt someone else (even the dog).

Isn’t this how it is with sin? We’re doing something that we shouldn’t be doing, and we fall. At first the damage is either not visible at all, or appears to be minor. It’s only when time passes that we really experience the damage caused by our sins. It's why when we go to confession, we pray an "act of contrition", where we resolve to make a conscious effort to avoid sin in the future.

But more importantly, I think, is how we react when we realize we have sinned. We have two choices. We can claim full responsibility, or we can find someone or something else to share the blame. Sure, we can try to convince ourselves that we aren't entirely at fault, if at all, and that by finding this other person/thing to blame, we're really acting out of a sense of justice. Ultimately, we're just rationalizing--saving face and feeding our pride at the expense of someone else. As time goes on, what would the constant shirking of responsibility do to our sense of self? Not to mention the fact that through unrepentent sinning we're killing our souls.

I suggest instead a complete examination of conscience. Periodical examinations of our attitudes and our behavior help us to pinpoint where we are most in danger of committing sin, thereby causing serious injury to our souls, which puts our souls at the risk of an eternity apart from God. That's what sin ultimately is, after all, an injury to our soul. There are several examinations available online (here is one to get you started). I know, it seems like a lot of work, almost as horrifying as that long put-off trip to the dentist; but I think union with God is worth the effort.


Emmaus Conversations said...

Hi Gina

Get well soon...glad the fall didn't hurt those fingers that type out God's messages here too.

I begin my reconcilation with: "I have broken God's heart, Bless me Father.........."

The best analogy I have seen was in the book Walking the Camino. Father noticed how women on the trail washed their clothes differently from men. The women changed pans and used soaps and rinses. The mem, a bit of soap and some water. It seems the women were washing to get the clothes clean. Men just didn't want to stink. Thats how he had felt about confession too. Get in over and don't stink. Well I read this on a Saturday about 2pm and was in the room by 3:30 ready to get clean,

Love your thoughts Bless you and hubby

Joe Strain said...

ouch! sorry to hear of the fall.. may the recovery be quick and swift.

ironic as you said a fall from Grace of God is even more damaging.. and how many times have I delayed the healing process.. you remind me that it is simple to heal all you have to do is prepare and be honest about it to yourself.... much like your fall with the dog.. no blame there just accept it as a fall and move on..

God is great

Anonymous said...

wow Gina, I didn't know about the fall until just now...3am Tuesday. I'm so sorry that I missed noticing your pain on Monday night. I should have caught that one. Listen my friend, you keep your eyes on the sparrow....and He will watch out for you. When you turn your back and look the wrong way, you turn away from Him...and you are right, then time passes...and then nothing is the same. Our perception even changes...and it is tough to find the sparrow again. We have to look many, many places. As long as we do though, we will find Him and them....Keep your eye on the sparrow....on Him, He is watching over you.... Thanks for you wonderful insight...
Oh Maria.....N

Mary said...

Hi Love,
Your writing is wonderful. Sorry you're hurting . If you stiffenup any more I know a great yoga teacher. Thanks for the examination site, I'll check it out. Believe me I'm long overdue for the sacrament! You are a mystic! At least in the eyes of one who looks for Saints in her militant life. Love you and miss you sister,

Gina said...

Hi Terry---Thanks for reading! I have heard of Walking the Camino----been told many times to read it. This must be a sign.

We do have a sort of impression of Confession---let's get in, get out, get it over with, because I have a life to leave a great analogy with your comment. Great insight!

Gina said...

Hi Joe, thanks for reading! How often do we think of the confessional like the doctor's office, or the dentist's office? We have such a negative feeling about confession, but I think it's mostly because we're afraid to open ourselves up--we hear horror stories about yelling, judgmental priests and just can't "go there". But that's not how it is at's a wonderful, freeing experience, and when we realize that the Priest isn't some supernatural guru, but a human being that sins just like we do, it becomes a much different source of comfort--we find the most understanding with those most like us.

Gina said...

Hi N.....oh, no, don't think you missed anything, because I was hiding it. I didn't want anyone making a big deal about my arm last night---

Nancy, I really believe that I should have broken it. I landed right on the concrete from the top of my back door landing, and I fell right on it...believe me, I am owning this miracle.

Eye on the sparrow-----what a beautiful song............................HEAVEN AND EARTH RESOUND THE HYMN--------SALVE, SALVE, SALVE REGINA!!!!!!!

Gina said...

Mary, I don't know about being a mystic, but I certainly love to read them! Anyway, takes one to know one........I might just take you up on a little therepy there, mama.

I miss and love you too!

Eddie Ray said...

15 years have come and gone since I've lived in this wonderful but old house,and nobody has ever fallen down the back (three) steps. A few relatives have fallen "up them" but thats because they had adult beverages in there hand.
The new deck on the back house is in the planning stages right now. I Thank God you were not seriously injured but most of all I Thank God for bringing "You" into my life. You are a "Special Gift" to everyone you come in contact with. The garage door episode would make a good story some day (Oh.......Nevermind) I Love You

Gina said...

About the back steps---I know! That's why I didn't even consider blaming you. About the garage door, I think just given me the inspiration I need for my next post! HAHAAA

As for a deck---we'll get to it, Love of My Life, one thing at a time, right?

I love you!

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