“You can do it Jelean." I did what my dad had asked me to do. I climbed back on his hands slowly. I stood straight up, then I jumped. I didn‘t fall. I gained back my confidence. I had trusted my dad. And I had learned to get up each time I fell.
“Let me stand on your feet,” I implored. “Please, dad.” He leaned his shovel against a post, sat down on the grass and took his shoes and socks off. He lay on his back and extended his arms above his head. I stepped onto the palms of his hands. He lifted his feet and I stepped up with one foot and then with the other onto the bottoms of his bare feet. Then he straightened his legs.
I was brave. The skillful trick didn’t frighten me. We had done it many times. I stood there for several minutes wearing a contented smile. Mama took a picture of us. Dad lowered his legs slowly and I jumped. I was uninhibited and I trusted my dad.
One day, after going through the same routine with my dad, I lost my balance and fell to the ground landing on my right hand. My wrist was injured. Dad felt bad, but I didn’t blame him. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get up there again. I sat on the grass holding my wrist and sobbing.
“Get back up Jelean and do it again,” dad said in kindness, “so you won’t be afraid.”
I cried, “No dad, I don’t want to. It hurts.”
“You can do it Jelean, do it again.” I couldn’t stop the flowing tears or the pain but I did what my dad had asked me to do. I climbed back up. I stood straight up momentarily. He lowered his legs slowly and I jumped. I didn‘t fall. I gained back my confidence. I had trusted my dad. And I had learned to get up when I fell down. There were many times in my life in which that philosophy became useful to me.
I was alone. I sat on a bench in the locker room next to the loud speaker. I was a 7th grader and anxious to make the school spelling team. I was a good speller. I felt confident my name would be announced but after listening to one name after another until the last name was finally called, I hadn’t made it. Others were chosen over me. I cried a little hoping no one would notice. I felt like giving up.
I reflected on teachings of my father, “Never give up.” I continued spelling and found success. I may not have ever made the spelling team but I made the tumbling team, the yearbook staff, and an officer in my sorority in college.
As a child, learning to swim was difficult. I stayed with it, over and over even though I struggled. I worked at it by myself with no instructions from others. I was determined to succeed. My swimming skills improved. I became a swimming instructor and was awarded a blue ribbon, a red one and several others when I participated in an intramural competition in college.
As I became a wife and mother, my challenges and burdens became so cumbersome, I thought it was impossible to achieve any type of success. There were times Iwanted to give up. I was stricken with a debilitating painful illness when I was 30, and along with my husband, I was raising four young children. The doctors were baffled with my illness but they tried one medication after another. When I failed at one, I accepted another trial of a different medication.
When one doctor couldn’t help, I sought the help of another. The evaluations, procedures, tests and specialists were too innumerable to count. I failed over and over but I knew the answer was out there. I struggled in agony while trying to bring up my children with a strong faith. My husband was my strength. He didn’t give up. I didn’t give up.
We raised five successful children and became grandparents to 18 grandchildren. While ill, I found accomplishment in other areas: writing, scrapbooking, woodcarving, crocheting and teaching. After 40 years, the answers finally came. And so did relief. Do I believe in getting up each time I fall down? Most assuredly.
Failing in one area doesn’t have to mean failure in another.
After a repeated attempt to succeed at a desired skill, letdown often leads to attainment in the future and in reaching other goals.
Patience finds its rewards when success happens after a period of time and after trying over and over again. Sometimes it takes a while.
Attaining a long-sought-after goal feeds our capacity to accomplish other goals bringing to a realization that getting up each time we fall results in a lifetime of fulfillment.
Jelean was raised in a small farming community with her nine brothers and sisters. She is an accomplished author. She enjoys creating scrapbooks for her grandchildren when they turn 12. Jelean writes about religion, personal and family experiences. She has been married for 51 years and has five children and 19 grandchildren.