**Trigger alert: If you are a big softy like me, grab some Kleenex. You’ll need something to catch the teardrops!
I saw this video of little Bailey Matthews a few weeks ago and it brought me to tears (happy tears). I saw him let go of his walker and take off running. He didn’t just let go of the walker. The way he released it, almost felt like he was flinging it to one side. His gait was joyful. The expression on his face was full of excitement and happiness. He saw the finish line and he was going for it! Then, he fell. The mother in me gasped. Yes, I reached out toward the screen, because I was sure that his knee hurt and somebody had to tend to it. I noticed that his father lagged behind, pulling the walker and watching his son. He didn’t go to help him up. He knew what his son would do. Bailey pushed himself up, and took off running again. He fell again. At this point, with the cameras behind him, his face can’t be seen in the video. But his body language says it all! He was determined to finish on his own, and he did!
It’s just a little over a minute worth of video, but it speaks volumes. Bailey has Cerebral Palsy, which causes some challenges with coordination and muscle movement. I didn’t see the, “If he can do that in his condition, anybody can,” cliché inspirational message. I saw him fall. I saw him get back up. Whether because of his condition, or a lump in the ground, he fell and decided not to stay down. In Proverbs 24:16 it says, “For a just man falleth seven times, he riseth up again…” A Japanese proverb similarly states, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” Falling is not always a choice, but getting back up is. What moved me the most about Bailey getting back up, was that he did it with so much joy! He didn’t waste any time crying, whining or analyzing what caused his fall. He got up and kept going and he did it happily!
So, the next time you fall, remember Bailey. Get back up and run to your finish line joyfully!