A building is scheduled for demolition next to my workplace.
One day we have a memo about parking reductions in our already overcrowded lot to accommodate the project, and the next day there’s a hole in the ground and a whole new view of the city where the building use to be.
Which makes me think about how quickly things fall.
Even big, strong things that we believe will last forever, like the Catholic Church. Or more specifically, St. Joseph’s Church. While the details of its destruction took years to work through and approve, once the project moved forward, the building went down so fast it seemed like I passed it on the way to breakfast and it was gone before dinner.
Other things fell. Like Lance Armstrong not only admitting that he enhanced his performance for all of these years, perhaps stealing victory over other deserving athletes, but also admitting that he bullied those who could expose him. There are many who vehemently admire him still for his dedication to the sport and tireless promotion of his Live Strong charity. But I see other very human, unenhanced citizens who somehow find a way in their own lives to dedicate themselves to a goal or sport without millions of dollars in sponsors and specialists supporting them, squeezing the time into the spaces left in between earning a living and raising a family. Many of which do this for charitable causes they deeply believe in.
And they don’t tolerate bullying.
So for me at least, the legend of Lance falls hard. Thud.
Then there was the fall heard around Patriot Nation as Gronk fell once again on his forearm, and our Super Bowl dreams fell with him.
Closer to home, lives also fall.
I would need to use all of my fingers and some toes to count how many people I know whose lives fell apart in the past year. Some suddenly- including a friend whose wonderful and well-loved husband died volunteering at a local road race. Others got more notice of the end, by way of a shocking terminal cancer diagnosis with a frighteningly short forecast. Other friends went to work expecting a normal day, and came home unemployed.
Yes, things fall quickly.
But they can start quickly too.
A friend gets a call that a new heart was available for his wife. A family’s life changes forever with the birth of their beautiful son. A co-worker’s long search for a job eventually lands him a better position than he ever dreamed of. And there are more: a marriage, a diploma, a cure. Lives beginning to build after the fall.
And here in Salem we have the most literally translation, as new resident Damien Echols begins his life again after years spent on death row.
I’ve fallen too, and as I think back on those times, the one thing I remember most vividly is this.
The extended hands of those who helped me get back up.