Seven years old.
Seven times she fell on the second rung, never looking around for those who saw.
Seven times she rose and turned to stand in line again, her eyes never leaving the bars.
And then suddenly, all at once, she swung to the third rung and then the whole way through, reaching the end, like it was nothing at all.
I wept and smiled all at once, never the same. Stretched.
She smiled and walked on.
“A righteous person will fall seven times but will rise. They are not righteous because they rise despite their fall; rather, they are righteous because they rise from their fall…. and because of how they bounce back, walk through frailties, through temptations, mistakes, etc. The beinoni will never be the spiritual superstar who is holy by nature. The beinoni is a gritty, get your hands dirty, spiritual role player who can say, ‘Am I going to be tempted by this? Yes. Am I going to be distracted by that? Yes. Am I going to fall? Yes.'” – Joshua Sussman
We can waste our whole lifetime not falling and never live,
Feverishly accessing safety and control and never live,
Seamlessly polishing our personal “brand” to be worshipped and never live,
Powerfully controlling others to align with our own image and never live,
Continuously receiving affirmation and never live,
Grotesquely enjoying victory in vengeance and never live,
Sickeningly gaining wealth and never live…
Even for a moment.
The effort engaged in a single moment of rising from a fall from grace, anguishing despair, or real hardship is the “divine substance” of character that transforms the world, whether we know it or not. Some of us have seven of these moments. Others have 7×70 or 7×700. We’re likely not to know how many because it is so organic, so ordinary to our original face of kindness and beauty.
The characters in the Maid and Mare of Easton inspire us for this reason, they show “gritty, get your hands dirty, ordinary, spiritual role players” who never deny temptation, distraction, or falls and never stop rising to be a “role player” for the child, the parent, the student, the co-worker, the friend, the teacher, the community. These characters are undoubtedly in each of our lives, playing a supportive role in inviting us to our ordinary moment of rising out of ash, witnessing our becoming…real, a continuous, never-ending adventure.
“Single mother Alex turns to housecleaning to make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship and overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her daughter, Maddy”
“Mare Sheehan, an office police investigator in a small Pennsylvania town, investigates a brutal murder as she tries to keep her life from falling apart.”HBO Series