This I Believe

William - Boulder, Colorado
Entered on December 12, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Fall. Rise. My strongest belief is that we fall, and endeavor to rise. My falls came out of the clear blue sky. They were the early death of a daughter and the subsequent brutal mental collapse of my beloved wife; a divorce more like a feeding frenzy of anger, greed and prejudice with a bewildered toddler trapped in the middle; the unexpected death of a good father—an estrangement that will never now be undone; the break-up of an extended family over money and power; and add an “impressively” broken neck and wholesale fraud. It could drive one to drink.

I wonder why so few talk of the fall and rise in their lives. Maybe because the topic doesn’t easily fit into a disrupted minute conversation in our frenetic lives? Or as a magical wish that to not talk of these things will deny them a public hearing and existence? Or to escape and not relive the fall and rise? Or because we feel alone and weak when we fall and struggle to rise, and can’t imagine anyone wanting to share our struggles? Or pain causes us to ball up? But I think those few who love us most might share that pain.

Out of the wreckage came our son, clearly a gift like no other that I have received. As he learns and grows, so do I. As he wonders at his world, I see through his eyes. I could finally see the strongest love of those few friends, who would go with me into my personal hell, to keep me company, to help me find my way out. I have found a new family. At our own peril, we overlook a key to the door out of our hells by remaining silent about them. I believe that the key is spoken to our loved ones, who will share our grief and hope.

Confucius wrote “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” Fall. Rise.