Flat On My Back

This morning was beautiful in Massachusetts. I rolled out of bed, put on my pants, an old sweater and slipped on my fuzzy slippers.  Outside the  sun glistened upon a trace of snow.  I opened the door to retrieve my daily Boston Globe.  One step was all it took….

Ever notice how an accident is never graceful?  With one step off the porch my foot hit a  film of black ice.  In a moment I was on my back, lying on the sidewalk.  It’s impressive how quickly you can go down four steps and land on concrete.


With the wind knocked out of me, I lay on the sidewalk…checking my body parts before I tried to move.  Coco a black Labrador happened by at that very moment and began to lick my face.  Mike (Coco’s  owner) asked: “Are you hurt?”

Gradually, we (Coco, Mike and I) decided that I was ok.  Everything worked.  I took a few ibuprofen and got on with my day.

My accident reminds me of how lucky I was not to break something and how the rest of my day could have proceeded very differently.  A reminder of how unpredictable life is.  We roll out of bed and think we know what is going to happen….and, ‘BAM’, we find ourselves flat on our back.

Accidents by definition are never graceful.  No one falls down the stairs or off a ladder ‘gracefully’.

But such moments can be ‘full of grace’.  By grace I speak of  an awareness that we’re not alone.  Whether we are on top of the world or flat on our back, that mystery we call God/Spirit is with us, especially when we are most vulnerable.

Like it or not, stumbles are part of the rhythm of every life.  No one avoids falling down the stairs.

Ruminating on this…and feeling a little bruised,  I happened upon a poem by the Australian poet, Joel McKerrow.  Here’s a portion of that poem entitled ‘We Dance Wild’.  This poem speaks to me and perhaps will speak to you too.

We Dance Wild

We dance. We dance wild.
Not a two-step, structured repetition. We dance large.
We dance flailing arms.
We dance the erratic and the wriggle,
the blunder, stumble and fall with no need to get back up again.
For our fumbles are our dance
and our dance is our rebellion and our declaration and our surrender.
Our falling to the floor is a knowing that it is only in the places
of dust and grime and footprint, only in the failed step and the rusty body, only in the falling
that we can ever truly meet the holy and the sacred.
We meet God on the floor.


8 thoughts on “Flat On My Back

  1. Karen Ansara

    This is another exquisite reflection, Kent, which I will share with my father in the hospital. He fell on black ice today and broke his leg. This is where we both meet God.

    1. Karen, so sorry about your Dad. Glad he is close by for you to check in on him. Tell him I’m sorry! I came very close to having the same outcome. And, where you and your Dad are both met by God.

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