Watching “Through the Looking Glass” last weekend with my daughters, I found myself eyeball to eyeball with Humpty Dumpty in full 3D roundness. Which reminded me of a time in my life when I felt a deep connection with that hapless egg.
After a period of ongoing physical challenges, including a three week stint in hospital, I returned home feeling utterly shattered and lacking the physical and emotional wherewithal to pick up managing a household consisting of 3 adults and four children (under 8) as well as working to make ends meet.
It felt as if I had fallen from a mountainous height, and I remember thinking, “Now I know exactly how Humpty felt.” I had neither the will nor the energy to patch myself together again, never-mind trying to re-scale the wall.
Now, I know I am not alone in having felt this way. Many have fallen before me and many have yet to fall. So, in the hope that it might encourage someone, here are some lessons I learned about falling off walls, (with credit to Humpty Dumpty).
He who sits on a wall is likely to fall
Which begs the following questions:
- What are you doing on the wall in the first place?
Let’s be clear about one thing. People have no business sitting on walls (or fences). This is true of everyone, but most particularly believers in Christ. The bottom line is that we are called to be either yay or nay, for or against, positive or negative. The problem is that the more blurred the lines become, the greyer we become, in some misguided attempt to “fit in”.
Sitting in walls is for those who don’t know their hot from the cold, their right from their wrong and who, lacking the courage to choose, plonk themselves right down in the middle. The problem is that the middle of hot and cold is lukewarm, and lukewarm is unpalatable.
Revelation 3:16 “because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”- Jesus Christ
- Why are you sitting when you should be standing? Unlike babies, mature adults are not meant to be trundled through life in a pram. Once we have chosen our stance, people of faith are called to take up our position and stand firm (very hard to do when you are up on a wall).
1 Corinthians 16:13 “stand firm in the faith” – St Paul
Which brings me right back to my starting point.
If you don’t want to fall, don’t sit on a wall
“Ah!” You are thinking. “It’s nice on the wall. I get a full view of both sides of the fence and can experience something of both worlds.”
Therein lies the danger of wall-sitting: the more we taste of the fruit on the “wrong side of the fence” the more we stimulate our appetite for it, until at one time or another we lean over too far and find ourselves splat on the ground, shattered and broken like that frail egg-head, Humpty.
There Is Hope For The Fallen
So, what do we do when we come to after a fall to find broken pieces of ourselves everywhere, utterly powerless to rebuild the life we have just crashed?
The worldly adage is to “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again” Problem is, as Humpty will avow, when there are so many shattered little bits and pieces, there’s nothing left to pick up or dust off and start again with.
If that’s you (it’s most of us at one time or another) unlike Humpty, there’s hope for you because (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)
When, like Humpty Dumpty,
You’ve had a great fall,
from a very high wall
Though no fleet footed horses
Or strong, bold men,
Can even attempt to heal you again
You can call on the King who fashioned your soul
And He will reach out and make you whole
1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – the apostle Peter (who himself knew what it was to fall and have to start again.)