A force of precisely 9.8 m/s2 acted upon my sister when she was approximately five years old. Gravity seemed like her friend as she hung upside down from our steel blue swing set. While hanging on the bar, she released creativity and imagination; she saw the world from a perspective largely ignored. With gravity pulling things downward, hanging there she could see them wrong-side up, where space ships roamed and tragedy floated away into distant galaxies. She took advantage of every nook and cranny and crevice, playing on every surface, gravity negligible. As she undermined the force, it defied her. She fell. But it was only a momentary setback, only a brief interruption to her games. It didn’t hinder her vivacious personality. In seconds she was again in the deep jungle hanging from magic vines. The day came when she was fourteen and falling down stairs, because she couldn’t balance her center of gravity. Falling became a regular occurrence. She had cancer and like gravity, it’s forceful. Her falling out with gravity changed her entire life, her unthought-of future. Her sickness manifested itself as an infringement upon my fourteen year old childhood. I pouted. Her body was mangled by gravity like her spine was diminished by illness, but it never slowed her down. It never defined her. The force stabilizing the planet collapsed her and she’s broken yet her nerve is unyielding and her spirit remains intact. It’s miraculous because she’s in college now. She was sentenced to death at fifteen because she was predicted to die in three months, yet nine years later she’s triumphant in everyday battles and progresses regardless of obstacles. She flies in her electric purple wheelchair defying not only gravity but sidewalk speed limits and Webster’s definition of “paralysis”. Recently, she wrote a blog entitled “In the Floor at 5 A.M.”, an account of “forgetting where her center of gravity is” and ending up in the floor only ironic because now we joke about accidents. Through her devastation we learned to get up.
I believe in gravity. Gravity, the force pulling towards the core of the earth, acts on everyone. It’s not selective. Gravity doesn’t discriminate by gender or social status, clothes or brands. Because of gravity I can’t fly or float on the picturesque clouds, but for unknown reason gravity caused a reaction changing my life forever. It taught me it’s not in falling where you find revelation, but in the triumph of getting up. I glance at her face, luminous in spite of her crippling and cheerful despite the limitations of a chair. Gravity isn’t the force holding me down; it’s the force awakening me to the purpose in everyday. It’s not about letting the force cripple or alienate you but allowing it to work on you, thus sculpting the masterpiece you become.
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